Through all this, PCs managed to maintain one stronghold: the enterprise market. But even in the enterprise, the tablet has now risen to challenge the PC.
There is no longer any doubt that tablets are making inroads as work devices. The question is how the tablet advance will unfold. Will tablets create a brand new market for a “third device” that employees will use together with their PCs and smartphones, or will tablets cannibalize PCs by replacing them?
The answer is that both trends will occur.
- Tablets will become a new third device for workers who already have company-issued PCs and mobile phones. These workers will use the cloud to sync their data across devices.
- Tablets will completely replace PCs for many workers such as sales staff that don’t require the processing power of stationary, desktop PCs.
- The enterprise is Microsoft’s main opportunity to challenge Apple and carve out a place for Windows 8 as a mobile platform.
- As tablets proliferate in enterprise settings, developers and startups will find a deep and lucrative niche for new apps. Currently, few developers are leveraging tablets’ natural advantages as employee and productivity tools.
The Tablet Market In Numbers
Before we get into the specific role of tablets in office settings, let’s take a look at the overall tablet market and compare it to the PC market.
Worldwide sales of tablets hit 65 million in 2011, according to BI Intelligence estimates.
Sales will double this year to between 122 and 135 million units. By 2016 manufacturers will ship between 283 million and 442 million units.
Here’s a table compiling our own and other firms’ tablet shipment estimates and projections:
|Global Tablet Shipments (In Millions)||2011||2012||2016|
In all, three quarters of a billion tablets will be in use by 2016, according to Forrester analyst JP Gownder.
This compares to 2 billion PCs in use, but it took the PC market more than 20 years to accumulate an installed base of 750 million people, according to Gownder. Tablets are on pace to accomplish the same feat in only six years. Just like their cousin, the smartphone, tablets are moving into our lives at a very fast clip.
Tablet Growth In The Enterprise
It is much harder to determine how many of these tablets are being bought by companies for distribution to their employees. But by all accounts, enterprise purchases will be a huge driver of tablet sales.
While Forrester estimates that 12 percent of employees globally are already using tablets for work, a good percentage are using their own device, not one bought by their company.
Companies, meanwhile, are becoming open to buying tablets for their employees.
A Morgan Stanley survey of CIOs in April 2012 found that two-thirds of them were already purchasing tablets for employees. (See chart to the right.)
The same survey also asked what percentage of employees would receive company-purchased tablets. CIOs reported that 9 percent of employees were being issued tablets, but that the proportion would rise to 14 percent by April 2013 (see chart, below).
In September, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying an iPad, so it’s safe to assume that most enterprises are at least exploring how tablets fit into to their workplace, even if they aren’t yet buying them by the thousands.
Employees are certainly asking for tablets. In 2012, for every three smartphones employees requested, they requested one tablet, according to a recent survey of 1,500 IT managers sponsored by Cisco.
As for how many total units companies will really buy, there’s a wide array of projections.
- Infinite Research estimates enterprises pu! rchased 14 million tablets in 2011. Enterprise demand will grow to over 96 million units in 2016 (or about one-quarter of tablet sales).
- McKinsey is more conservative about the weight of enterprise sales, predicting that business adoption of tablets will drive about 4 percent of total tablet growth to 2016.
Whatever the growth drivers, Apple’s iPad and its iOS operating system (shared with iPhones) will continue to own the tablet market, at least for the next few years.
But tablets running on Windows 8 are expected to pick up momentum by 2015 or 2016, in no small part thanks to enterprise adoption.
The Windows Opportunity
In 2016, tablets running on the Windows 8 operating system will command about 10 percent of the overall tablet market, according to a forecast from IDC.
Some consumer surveys point to potential for even larger Windows gains. For example, twenty-five percent of consumers said they intended to purchase a Windows 8 tablet in a Morgan Stanley survey from 2012.
Of course, this Morgan Stanley survey focused on consumers, and not enterprise users.
Nonetheless, th! e survey shows that Windows remains a strong name with consumers. That’s important for the enterprise market because through the influence of Bring Your Own Device programs, employees have clout in deciding what hardware their companies adopt and support.
If the enterprise version of Windows 8 proves popular with businesses, Windows 8 tablets could become a popular device to replace the old PCs.
However, between now and 2016, Microsoft needs to improve its tablet offering in three ways:
- Fine-tune the Windows 8 interface to be more intuitive and less buggy.
- Fill its Windows 8 store with enterprise apps that make better use of the touchscreen.
- Add more enterprise-specific features to Windows 8 and integrate them more tightly with Microsoft’s server and commercial cloud products.
Let’s assume Microsoft makes these improvements, and also continues to leverage its strengths as a distributor of Windows and the dominant Microsoft Office suite, which includes PowerPoint and Excel. (Even if Office becomes available on iPads, Microsoft can still offer Windows tablets that better integrate Office into the operating system.)
Enterprise adoption of business-friendly Windows 8 tablets would help cement tablets as a replacement for PCs for office workers.
Meanwhile, enterprise success for Windows 8 tablets means more enterprise developers will need to write more custom applications for the platfo! rm. A fe w enterprises have already begun. For instance, Rooms to Go, a furniture retailer with $1.3 billion in revenue, developed a Windows 8 app for its showroom that lets salespeople on the sales floor help customers on the spot, rather than marching customers back to a Windows workstation.
(See section below, “Apps For The Tablet Workforce,” for more on enterprise tablet apps.)
Tablets vs. PCs?
The influx of tablets into the enterprise has already hurt the PC market, particularly the low-end, low-power netbook market.
IHS, a market research firm, has predicted that about 349 million PCs would ship overall in 2012, down from 353 million in 2011.
“Not since 2001 — more than a decade ago — has the worldwide PC industry suffered such a decline,” wrote IHS analyst Craig Stice.
But there’s a clear limit to how much the tablet can erode the PC market, even if Windows 8 enterprise tablets are a wild success, at least within the next three years. Some professions will need a more powerful computer than a tablet. These are the same professions who still use high-end desktop computers today: graphic designers, analysts, computer programmers, and so on.
Interestingly, the upswing in tablets in the enterprise could eventually have a boomerang effect and help! the des ktop PC market grow again.
Forrester analyst Frank Gillet foresees a day when workers will want a more powerful desktop machine parked at the office, and use a tablet as a portable device that syncs to the desktop, and to apps and documents stored in the cloud.
“Eventually tablets will slow laptop sales but increase sales of desktop PCs,” he writes. “That’s because many people, especially information workers, will still need conventional PCs for any intensely creative work at a desk that requires a large display or significant processing power.”
This will hold true until there’s a major breakthrough in battery technology (which researchers are working on). Until then, there will be a trade-off between power and battery life for tablets, with most tablet makers opting for battery life over power.
Just like there will be a lingering need for some professions to use high-end desktop PCs, other professions will have no use for a PC at all.
Companies that were early to tablets are making plans for a certain proportion of tablet-only employees.
Take German enterprise software company SAP, for example. The company began buying thousands of tablets in 2010. Today it has a fleet of 18,000 iPads and 4,000 Android tablets, mainly the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note, says Oliver Bussmann, SAP CIO. SAP is also currently testing about 50 Windows 8 tablets.
Employees with certain jobs, such as sales staff or SAP employees that work on customer websites, are issued a tablet of their o! wn choos ing.
Today, the tablet is an additional device that complements a PC, says Bussmann, but “we see more and more users” who don’t need their PCs once they get a tablet.
He says the tablet-only employee will never be 100 percent of SAP’s workforce “but I think in the next 12 months, certain user groups” will get tablets instead of PCs, such as salespeople.
As the company deployed all those tablets, the IT team started building apps for them and now has “50 mobile apps internally deployed,” Bussmann says.
SAP is a software development company, so some of this app development was a matter of eating its own dog food, meaning using the mobile tools internally that it wants to sell to customers. But even so, SAP’s experience demonstrates a trajectory many other large companies will take. For instance, one of the internally developed apps lets sales reps access SAP’s internal data about the customer, as well as relevant information about a customer from social media and news reports.
That way, as sales representatives “enter a customer meeting, they are always up to date,” Bussmann says.
Beyond SAP’s own workforce, the company also sees clients adopting tablets, and SAP wants to support all their clients’ tablet choices, according to the head of SAP’s mobile division, Sanjay Poonen.
“We want to be a Switzerland-style player,” and support iOS, Android tablets, and Windows 8 tablets, he says.
Over the next three years, tablets will become a common tool in the workforce. They will be used for more than just checking email, looking at a web page, reading a document, or carrying a presentation. They will become a new class of business tool on par with a laptop, and a good percentage of employees won’t want, or need, anything more.
Apps For The Tablet Workforce
Once employees own a tablet, even if they bought one themselves, they are likely to use it for work. For instance, 21 percent of owners of the http://w ww.businessinsider.com/blackboard/ipad-3″>iPad 3 say they use it for work, and, across iPad owners generally, 13 percent say they use it for work, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
As tablets in the enterprise reach critical mass, more software and cloud services will be developed specifically for the tablet platform.
Li says he sees an influx of startups working on enterprise apps designed exclusively for the tablet.
He offers as an example the spreadsheet, which is one of the most used, most popular enterprise apps of all times. But using it on a tablet with a touchscreen is difficult “because Excel is not designed” for a small touchscreen, he says.
Apps that address that problem are just one idea. “There’s lots of opportunity.”
(In an effort to meet this challenge, Microsoft’s new version of Office has tried to make its enterprise apps, including Excel, touch-friendly.)
Tablet-specific apps have already begun to transform certain industries and certain roles within every enterprise.
For instance, tablets are replacing paper catalogs in the pharmaceutical industry and the food distribution industry. Even as of 2011 most salespeople in these industries would still travel door-to-door with printed binders. Today they use an elect! ronic ca talog on an iPad, and tablet-specific order-entry software.
Tablets have also changed retail point-of-sale (POS) systems. It has become a new device that retail clerks can use while they roam the floor working with customers. It is capable of doing everything from checking on inventory to ringing up the purchase.
POS systems like those offered by LightSpeed, Revel Systems, ShopKeep, and POSLavu replace a PC-based cash register with a tablet.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- One-tenth of enterprise employees are already being issued company-owned tablets.
- Hundreds of thousands of employees may become mobile-only as PCs are phased out for certain job functions.
- Microsoft’s quest to create a tablet platform via Windows 8 will succeed in part thanks to enterprise preference for Windows. Windows 8 will lend impetus to a new wave of development focused on enterprise tablet apps.
It’s been just over a month since Google unveiled its gorgeous and affordable $249 Samsung Chromebook only to surprise us days later with an even cheaper system, the $199 Acer C7 Chromebook. At first glance, these two laptops are very similar, both in purpose (cloud-based computing on a budget) and in specs (11.6-inch display, dual-core CPU, 2GB of RAM), but there are significant differences under the hood. Samsung’s offering achieves its svelte form factor, 6.5-hour battery life and attractive price via a fully integrated and fanless ARM-based design while Acer takes a more conservative approach — cramming standard off-the-shelf components like a 2.5-inch hard drive, small-outline memory module, mini-PCIe WiFi card, and Intel Celeron processor into a traditional netbook-like chassis. Does being $50 cheaper make up for the C7’s lack of sex appeal and short 4-hour battery life? What other compromises in performance and build quality (if any) were made to achieve this lower cost? Most importantly, which budget Chromebook is right for you? Find out after the break.
Gallery: Acer C7 Chromebook review
Intel isn’t having much success keeping its upcoming Bay Trail-era Atom platform under wraps. If the previous overview leak wasn’t enough, a roadmap uncovered by Mobile Geeks has just explored the finer points of the tablet-oriented Bay View-T and its Valleyview-T processors. The most surprising leap may be in graphics: while we knew the GPU core would be much faster, we’re now seeing that the new Intel hardware can output to as much as a 2,560 x 1,600 display and record stereoscopic, 1080p 3D video in the event that 3D-capable tablets come back into vogue. Likewise, battery life should be rosier than you’d expect; Bay Trail-T can reach the same performance at half the power, which should lead to about two extra hours of video playback for at least some of the 1.6GHz to 2.1GHz processors in the lineup. Don’t get too excited by the potential, however. If the leak is accurate, Bay Trail for tablets isn’t expected until early 2014, by which point 22-nanometer Atoms will be a step behind the cutting edge.
Intel roadmap leak outlines Bay Trail-based Atom for tablets in detail: 3D cameras, half the energy draw originally appeared on! Engadget on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 15:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Google really impressed us in San Francisco here today with its 11.6-inch ARM-based Samsung Chromebook. The $249 laptop is 0.8-inches (20mm) thin and weight only 2.43 pounds (1.1kg). It features a 11.6-inch 1366 x 768-pixel matte display, a full-size keyboard, a button-less trackpad and a 30Wh battery for 6.5+ hours of operation. Specs include a fanless dual-core A15-based Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (5250) SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in flash storage, WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth. There’s a full-size SD card reader and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (with mic support) on the left, plus the power input, HDMI output, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 connector and SIM slot (currently unused) in back.
First impressions? This is a solid machine — build quality and materials are fantastic for the price. It’s also pleasantly thin and light, a boon for people who are used to carrying a laptop around every day. We’re happy with the display which is bright and crisp. Viewing angles could use some improvement, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better laptop screen at this price. The keyboard and trackpad feel great (we’re coming from an 11-inch Core i7 MacBook Air), and two-finger scrolling works like a charm. Performance is somewhere between the original Atom-based Chromebooks and the current C! eleron-e quipped Series-5 model. The system didn’t have any issues playing back 1080p content in YouTube, but we didn’t get a chance try Hulu or NetFlix.
Ultimately, this is a phenomenal device for the price. If you’re used to working in the cloud, you’re basically getting 80 percent of the entry-level MacBook Air experience for a quarter of the price. Factor in the Google Now integration and 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years and this latest Chromebook is a winner. Check out the gallery below and hit the break for our hands-on video.
Hands-on with Google’s $249, ARM-based Chromebook (update: video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 18 Oct 2012 13:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Not too long ago, Samsung faced a big loss against Apple in court, and now, it’s just sat through the announcement of the new iPhone, which sold out its preorders in a matter of hours. What’s a rival manufacturer to do? That’s easy; if you’re Samsung, you attack.
Samsung has crafted a pretty aggressive ad comparing Apple’s flagship iPhone 5 to its own Galaxy S III. You can guess who comes out on top. While the lion’s share of the ad’s criticisms are fair—the S III does have NFC while the iPhone 5 doesn’t, and the same goes for removable battery and microSD storage—the bit referring to Apple’s new connector comes off as a bit snide. But you didn’t expect this to be civil, did you?
Adorned with the clever (admit it, it’s clever) tagline “It doesn’t take a genius,” the ad is due to roll out a bunch of newspapers tomorrow, where it will doubtlessly reach the sort of people who still read newspapers. Clearly Samsung isn’t about to take anything lying down, and who could blame them? The question is, will it work? [CNET]
Study: free apps drain 75 percent more power, badly built advertising to blame originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 20 Mar 2012 12:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
You intuitively know that all of those applications running in the background on your phone are latently eating away at your battery’s charge, but a new study reveals that the main culprit isn’t any useful function. It’s location-pinging ads.
The study, conducted by a team lead by Abhinav Pathak from Purdue University, analyzed the energy used by several popular free Android apps (PDF) like Angry Birds, Facebook, the New York Times, and Chess. The team developed an “energy profiler” they call “Eprof” that determines what processes within an app are using energy. The results are shocking: 65 to 75 percent of energy consumed by the free apps studied are used by third-party advertising modules within the programs. These apps continue to run in the background even when you’re not actually using the app. Only 10 to 30 percent of that energy is used to power the applications’ “core functions.”
Apps shouldn’t continue to serve you ads when you’re not locking at the apps. It’s a bug, or something more nefarious. According to the researchers, developers don’t notice energy consumption problems—bugs or otherwise—because most apps are “energy oblivious,” meaning that the developers don’t pay attention to how much energy apps use. [Eurosys 2012 via New Scientist]
If Kenneth G. Lieberthal were anything but a China expert at the Brookings institution, his travelling-in-China security procedures would read like the product of a paranoid mind that watched too many spy movies as a kid:
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”
Talk about overkill, right? Well he’s not alone. The Times reports that these seemingly paranoid precautions are par for the course for just about anyone with valuable information including government officials, researchers, and even normal businessmen who do business in China.
But what about the rest of us? I may not have any valuable state secrets or research that needs protecting but that doesn’t mean I want the Chinese government snooping on my internetting when I visit my grandparents (especially when the consequences can be so severe). In the past, I’ve relied on a combination of VPNs, TOR, and password-protecting everything I can, but now it sounds like even that isn’t enough. Or maybe it’s totally overkill given my general unimportance in the grand scheme of things. Dear readers, I ask you, how much security is enough when it comes to the average person on vacation? [NY Times]
I love the smell of acquisitions in the morning! We’ve just heard that Groupon has acquired Adku, a stealth startup that uses big data in order to personalize the online shopping experience for people visiting eCommerce sites like eBay, Amazon and Zappos.
The company built their personalized targeting technology in three months, and have basically been in stealth since they launched at the Angelpad Demo day a year and a half ago. Adku is backed by Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures and True Ventures in addition to being an Angelpad startup.
Although CEO Ajit Varma and several members of the six person team are former Googlers, from what I’m hearing this wasn’t a talent acquisition or acqhire but a team + technology play – with a price beyond $10 million. Varma would not disclose what the team will be working on when they get to Groupon.
While it’s not clear what the technology will be applied to, the acquisition makes sense on a lot of levels, especially because a personalized experience is where most of eCommerce is headed. Greylock VC David Thacker now runs product for Groupon, so that couldn’t have hurt either.
Wrote Varma in a blog post, “We started talking to Groupon to bring our technology to more customers and quickly realized that we wanted to be a deeper part of a company that people love and is empowering merchants and customers in a way that’s never been done before.”
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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