Bill Gates’ a “computer on every desk and in every home” vision almost came true in 2002 when one billion PCs were sold as per Gartner during that time. More importantly, this number was speculated to double in the next 6 years, but ironically, it was in 2008 the PC industry suffered its worse setback.
Today PC sales are not only dwindling, they are slowly becoming a “second rung” choice – both for consumers, who drive majority of the business – and corporates. Tablets, officially, are taking over, but what are they up to in the enterprise?
The numbers game
According to Gartner, the dwindling PC shipments reflect how user behavior has changed in the long-term, especially while adopting replacement devices like tablets.
In its first quarter report, Gartner estimates worldwide tablet shipments to reach the 200 million mark in 2013, which represents a 70% increase from the last year. This high growth rate was observed from 2011 to 2012 as well.
Changewave Research reports an improved IT spending by businesses in Q2 of this year, with tablet and smartphone demand leading the way. In its Q1 study, 25% respondents indicated their enterprises would purchase tablets for employees in 2013 Q2.
The report also laid down that both tablets and smartphones were allowed in BYOD programs at close to 40% companies. While the rate of “smartphones only” BYOD enterprises remained flat, the percentage of “tablets only” companies doubled since an earlier November 2012 finding.
While Android is dominating consumer sales with 70% of the global market, Apple is still the device of choice for enterprises. The iPad is the most popular at almost 80%. When Apple came out its 4th generation tablet, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, found more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies either testing or deploying the iPad.
Changewave’s report pegs Samsung and Microsoft tablets as the next best options, at 16% apiece. On account of its integration with desktop applications, Microsoft devices seemingly have an edge but the move to Windows 8 is going to be a rocky one as Windows XP is still running in about 40% commercial enterprises.
Samsung has made a strong case for itself by targeting the enterprise market via a well-defined internal strategy which provides end-to-end enterprise tablet solutions, and a consumer-centric product strategy that highlights its tablet as not just a “consumption” device but a “creation” device.
What’s interesting to note is that 48% of the corporate respondents indicated the tablet to be a laptop replacement compared to only 14% consumer respondents. And this makes the tablet takeover very evident: the enterprise is poised to outgrow the consumer.
However, this trend has just been the opposite over the last couple of years. Technology almost always started in business – the mobile phone, computer, printer, fax machine – before moving to the consumer. But that has changed with tablets.
Wi-Fi and apps: these are the two primary growth drivers in the consumer tablet space, and they are also integral to business. Wireless coverage, both indoors and outdoors, have enhanced tablet use. Without wireless, tablet penetration wouldn’t have been this deep.
Where apps are concerned, the acceptability at consumer-level coupled with their availability have worked in the tablet’s favor. Awareness and familiarity with different Operating Systems has also helped reduce many barriers. After all, apps are running the show.