Enterprise tablet adoption just waiting to take off, analyst claims

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


In January this year, this correspondent wrote: “If there’s a company at the moment which is changing the face of tablet computing in the enterprise, it’s Microsoft.” Now a report from Strategy Analytics argues the iPad Pro will launch into a surge of enterprise tablet growth – thanks in no small part to the groundwork Microsoft has done with the Surface Pro 3.

The report, written by Strategy analyst Eric Smith, argues larger screen sizes are becoming de rigeur thanks to the Surface Pro 3, along with two-in-one detachable tablets from the likes of Lenovo, Acer, and Asus.

By 2019, Smith argues, shipments of tablets with 11 inch screen sizes or larger will almost double to 19.3 million units, representing a 7% share of the market. The primary driver for this will be enterprise uptake, due to replacement of PCs and ‘workflow transformation’, a fancy term for the former. Consequently, shipments of seven to eight inch tablets will drop 15 percentage points by 2019 and take up 30% of the market. Another reason for this drop will be the rise of phablets; often derided, but the report argues the eight to nine inch segment will grow to 31% of shipments.

According to Smith, the gulf between PCs and tablets continues to shrink. “Major vendors are pushing the boundaries of all three major mobile operating systems and hardware configurations to transform the tablet into a content creation device,” he said. “The ultra-portability and versatility of two in one tablets and premium slates like Surface Pro 3 and iPad Pro will enable the tablet to increasing serve new market segments, such as field work, healthcare, retail point of sale, education, and even desk work.”

It is an interesting argument – and the key words are content creation. True, tablets had gotten a bad rap for enterprise use cases, and not just from this publication; but things have certainly improved in the past couple of years. Productivity, through making Office available for iPad, has been ticked off. Printing from tablets? Cloud printing technologies such as Cortado aim to offer a solution for that. Typing from an iPad? Some companies are putting products out for that as well.

Regardless, it’s enough for Strategy to expect a surge in the next few years. You can read the full report here (registration required).


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