Tablets Stall with Consumers, Grow in the Workplace

Carl Weinschenk
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Five Barriers for Enterprise Mobility

Tablets may have finally found their niche. Recent indicators suggest that the overall adoption of tablets is leveling off among consumers, but that they are finding a more receptive audience in the workplace.

TechCrunch reports on Forrester Research that points to a plateau in tablet sales. After fast growth from 2010 to 2013, the currents began to change. But this makes sense, because replacement rates are lower than they are for smartphones. A reason for that, according to the study, is the absence of new, must-have functionality. The category also is being pushed from below by phablets, which are an even newer form factor.

There is a significant silver lining to this cloud, however. The story says that more than half of employees use a tablet for work once a week or more. In short, tablets are becoming an enfranchised and accepted business tool:

Employees seem to be using these tablets as a supplemental device to their PCs and laptops and are likely to bring their own tablet with them to work if their company does not provide them with one. However, Forrester data also suggests companies are more willing to provide these devices and that nearly a third (29 percent) do provide tablets to use for work.

The Street dissects the evolving tablet market further. It says that both tablets and hybrids that are part laptop, part tablet are becoming bigger factors in the business market. The story echoes a key piece of news for vendors: The move to use tablets is not coming at the expense of laptops or desktops. The new devices have different uses and, thus, the growth is additive.

Also, business growth is not near a plateau. The Street quotes ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr’s opinion that tablets in the enterprise have a lot of growth potential. He suggests that they are ideal, for example, as a way to computerize the still largely manual task of entering work orders into systems.

IDC also has identified the fact that future growth of tablets is in the enterprise. The firm, according to a report in Computer Weekly, found that 40 percent of respondents in the UK, France and Germany do all their business computing on a tablet. There also are many employees who use tablets as a supplement to other computing devices. Hybrid devices with larger screens are particularly popular, the firm found.

So, even though the consumer tablet market has leveled off, the good news for tablet vendors is that the business sector is proving to be a strong and growing market. For users, the news is all good: Tablets and hybrids offer unique use cases that, used alone or in conjunction with other computing devices, make their jobs easier.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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