The launch of iPad led to a renewed focus of manufacturers all around and every technology manufacturer worth its salt has since launched a tablet or is working towards it. There is no doubt that tablets are being touted as the next big mobility device with a huge target market.
However, one wonders if the target market is big enough for so many vendors to release their branded tablets. Well, if iPad sales are to be believed, there definitely seems to be a market out there. In my view consumer segment alone cannot generate enough demand for manufacturers to consider the tablet market is significant.
A tablet loosely defined in terms of functionality would fit somewhere between a smartphone and feature-rich PC/laptop. Now, add to that a sizable premium in terms of the price which makes the value proposition of tablet a little weak and makes the product less suited for mass adoption.
Where will the demand for tablets come from then?
Enterprise Segment could well be the channel which could foster the adoption of tablets at large. Enterprise Mobility is gaining steam as businesses world over come to terms with real-time information/solution be it customer support or marketing.
A tablet is tailor made to serve the enterprise mobility needs of the enterprise. However, the adoption of tablets has largely been restricted to top executives using these devices at personal levels and even Gartner estimates that the tablets will capture some of the enterprise market, but will not be as successful as desktop PC’s and smartphones. At the face of it, there are lot of technical and cost reasons for the same but I think some companies are betting on tablets becoming a key device in the enterprise segment.
SAP is one of these companies and it has been gung-ho to test the waters by putting tablets in an enterprise setting.
After having deployed 5,000 iPads and 200 Blackberry playbooks, SAP CIO is now keen to put the yet unreleased Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the hands of his employees.
It is another matter that SAP and Samsung engineers have worked together to make the Android OS (which powers the Galaxy tab) more secure for enterprise use. However, with software vendors like SAP showing a keen interest in tablets for enterprise use the possibilities for a new tablet driven ecosystem could very well be on the cards. Mercedes Benz has already been experimenting by empowering the staff in its dealerships with tablets to explain financing options to customers.
Having said that, it is still early days to talk about the maturity of tablets as an enterprise device. The manufacturers need to innovate more and the prices also need to come down to ensure that the purchasing committees in enterprises do not raise an eyebrow.
It will be really interesting to see the extent to which tablets can replace the existing infrastructure or rather complement the mobility tools currently used by organizations.
What do you think – Do tablets have future in Enterprise mobility space ?