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Tablets and Enterprise: How Apple leads Google

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on January 13, 2011

Tablets were the hottest category this CES and that’s with a reason. As against Laptops, PCs and Netbooks which have a single digit growth forecasts (Forrester), the most conservative estimate puts the tablet category at a growth trajectory of 27%. The numbers could be as high as 73%.

What started as a consumer focused gadget and category is starting to spread its wings into the enterprise segment. In the consumer segment, the Tablets are fast becoming an integral to a digital lifestyle. Apple quite simply leads head and shoulders above others in terms of an integrated digital media space. Google’s Android is the only other platform that had the best shot at giving Apple iPad a run for its money. The start delivered by Samsung Galaxy Tab was shot in the arm. CES launches: Motorola Xoom and the T-Mobile G-Slate — will be strong competitors to the iPad, at least for consumer use. While Google has a tough task trying to maintain the sanctity of its multiple versions which is fragmenting the Android platform, the Android tablets also are some distance off the enterprise segment.

Usage @ Enterprise Segment: As consumers adopt tablets, they will undoubtedly want to use their personal tablets to access enterprise systems from outside of the office. individual behavior for helping the iPad make its way into businesses. Sales teams and employees that already have remote access to enterprise systems will seek to drag their personal tablets onto enterprise IT networks from outside the office.Buyers seeking to use personal tablets for occasional work purposes aren’t ready to ditch their work PC or laptop. Rather, they would augment their work machines with personal tablets to access email, calendar, and enterprise Web applications when not at work and not accessing the laptop.It’s important to note that while the tablet will be a personal device, the ability to use it for work purposes when needed will factor into purchase decisions.

Enterprises will resist user requests for accessing enterprise systems from personal tablets, citing enterprise security, administration, and management requirements. Device vendors will work to address these enterprise needs, while balancing against the backlog of consumer-focused used demands. When they do, IT will, at times grudgingly, accept personal tablets onto the network.

The iPhone and iPad’s growth in the enterprise followed this trend. Android tablet adoption in the enterprise is likely to tread the same path. However, compared to that of Apple, Google’s readiness in the enterprise category is far behind.The Moto Xoom doesnot mention enterprise readiness in its website. Synching, Securit, Enterprise-level networking has not been the top priority in the Android tablets.

The simple and effective manner in which Apple is communicating the iPad’s business-readiness, “Mac in the Enterprise” for instance, if even for occasional usage, deserves not just kudos: It begs for imitation from Android device makers.

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