So, which tablet did you receive over the holiday season? Was it the Kindle Fire, the Motorola Xoom, or the iPad?
With the iPad dominating the tablet ecosystem early 2011, this is a question you rarely would have heard or thought to ask. But as the year continued, technology progressed, and many more tablets entered the ring. While market sales indicate that Amazon's Kindle Fire was the most popular device of the 2011 holiday shopping season, the iPad should continue to fare well. The risks of Android fragmentation in the context of device management may scare off enough to work in their favor. The bottom line is, the the tablet market is gaining momentum and is on the rise...with names such as the Asus Transformer Prime, the Samsung Galaxy Y, and BlackBerry's PlayBook to add to the bunch.
According to IDC France, the tablet market is forecasted to bypass 4.1 million this year, representing a 48% growth in comparison to 2011. I do not however believe that tablets will dominate laptops or desktops, as each of these devices serves its own purpose.
Let me explain...
Like many of you, I own an Android, an iPad, a home machine for my parents and a work machine for my corporate assignments. As mentioned above, each of these devices serve a specific purpose and in my opinion are irreplaceable. I'll use my iPad to read while I'm traveling for example, or to watch videos on my own time. But no matter how useful it may be, I cannot make the full transition from my computers given the comparably insufficient internal storage it provides. Another thing--the tablet keyboard isn't user-friendly enough for me to write pages and pages without hurting my hands or wrists. Tablets are good for composing and sending a few emails a day, but I prefer my corporate machine if I need to respond to more than 20.
One of the main reasons tablets are gaining popularity is their 'touch screens' and 'portability'. Many industries, such as education and healthcare, are already using these types of devices for information sharing. Like any other novice technology, tablets do face a good share of challenges, all of which are relevant to consumers and enterprise users:
1. Many smartphone users find it redundant to own a smartphone and a tablet. Tablet vendors and product strategists must deliver high tech, more compact, feature- and application-rich tablets at competitive prices. Some other tablet needs include: easy access to SD cards, better USB support, and better or'real' keyboards for authors, students, teachers, etc..., who write more than one page per day.
2. Preserving data integrity and preventing mobile malware infestations continue to be key concerns within the mobile ecosystem. Do tablet users securely access business or banking apps? Or enterprise content over public networks? Do they follow the basic security practices for preventing unauthorized access and data breaches?
3. Rise of personally-owned tablets in workplaces, or BYOD (bring-your-own-device): Gartner recently predicted that "By 2016, at least 50 percent of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client." As employees and mobile workers bring their portable computers to work, have organizations defined their tablet management strategy? Are they prepared to handle this sudden influx of employee- and corporate-owned smartphones and tablets in their workplaces?
4. 2012 will witness the rise of a more fragmented tablet market. This implies more choices for consumers, which is certainly good news for those looking to address specific needs. However, enterprises must have a robust and scalable infrastructure to accomodate the upcoming releases or needs of the dynamic mobile market.
As an iPad user, I believe the tablets are here to stay. They have their own market but tablet computing needs to evolve.
Don't you agree that this tablet trend is on? And for all you tablet-owners out there, what kind do you have and what has your experience been like so far?