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Tablets: One in 10 businesses has them on the shopping list for 2011

US survey shows business users have big appetite for tablets - especially Apple's iPad...

US survey shows business users have big appetite for tablets - especially Apple's iPad...

A significant percentage of US businesses are expecting to buy tablets in the near future, a survey has found.

More than one enterprise in 10 - 14 per cent - is planning to purchase tablets in the first quarter of next year, according to ChangeWave Research, which polled more than 1,600 US business IT buyers.

For those organisations that have tablets on their New Year shopping list, Apple's iPad remains the overwhelmingly popular choice, with more than three-quarters, 78 per cent, of respondents saying their company plans to buy the device.

Dell and BlackBerry-maker RIM came next on the list of planned tablet purchases, both with nine per cent. RIM's first tablet has yet to be released, however - the device, known as the PlayBook is expected to launch in the US in early 2011.

ChangeWave Research corporate tablet survey graph

Apple's iPad: Popular and satisfying
(Image credit: ChangeWave Research)

The survey also found that eight per cent of the companies planning to buy tablets next year are looking to purchase HP devices, while Samsung hardware is preferred by four per cent.

According to ChangeWave, seven per cent of enterprises already provide employees with tablets.

Among organisations that have already deployed tablets Apple's iPad remains by far the most popular device, favoured by 82 per cent.

Meanwhile, tablets made by HP, which produces the Windows 7-powered Slate 500, have been deployed by 11 per cent of tablet-adopting businesses, while Dell, which makes the Android-based Dell Streak tablet, by seven per cent.

Businesses are using the tablets most for internet access, checking email and working away from the office. Sales support, customer presentations, and laptop replacement are also popular business functions.

ChangeWave noted that all six business uses have increased significantly since its last tablet survey three months ago - suggesting tablet hardware is proving its enterprise worth. The biggest riser has been internet access, up 18 percentage points since August, followed by working away from the office, up 15 percentage points, and using tablets as a laptop replacement, up 13 percentage points.

Checking email has risen 12 percentage points, while sales support and customer presentations are both up six points each.