Are tablets about to get a promotion in the workplace?

Smartphones may fall out of favour as more enterprise apps move over to tablets.

Can tablets more from being nice-to-haves to being business essentials?

Tablets — usually considered a nice-to-have in the office compared to smartphones and laptops — could be due for a bit of a promotion.

According to research, nearly three-quarters of organisations are issuing corporate-owned laptops (74 percent) and smartphones (71 percent) to their workforces, while less than half of businesses dish out tablets.

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But the analysts at Frost & Sullivan said the number of business-issued tablets will rise over the next three years "as many of the more data-intensive mobile applications migrate over to the tablets".

By 2016, enterprise ownership and regular usage of smartphones is expected to decrease from its current base of 66 percent to 58 percent, while tablets are expected to increase from 49 percent to 56 percent — almost the same level.

The research also found that while almost 60 percent of organisations allow personal devices to be connected to the corporate network, only four out of 10 of the IT decision makers questioned said their company has a formal bring your own device (BYOD) policy in place . The number is much lower in small businesses, where only one in five has a formal BYOD policy.

Android is the most commonly operating system (56 percent) for business owned-devices, according to the survey, followed by iOS (41 percent), Windows Phone (30 percent), and BlackBerry (28 percent).

Frost & Sullivan said there was a general trend towards more remote and mobile workers, and less office-bound ones, "signifying greater opportunities for smartphone and tablet makers".

PC makers have been trying to work out what to do about the rise of tablets both in the consumer market and in business, leading to an array of new concepts and form factors such as Microsoft's Surface with somewhat mixed results.

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