The death of
the traditional desktop computer has been heralded for some time now, largely
due to the rise of tablet computers which offer many of the same features and
functions in a portable, user-friendly device. Tablets are controlled via touch
screen, eliminating the need for a keyboard and mouse (though many offer a
"virtual" keyboard to facilitate text entry) and offer faster startup times
than PCs, so they are a good resource for "need it now" access to information.
Tech Pro Research, which is TechRepublic's premium content sister publication, is conducting a survey to find out about the use of tablets in the workplace.
Dozens of vendors have entered the game and tablets are being offered by virtually every computer manufacturer. The Apple iPad and iPad mini have arguably led the charge in carving out a niche among loyal users. However, Apple competitors such as Samsung and Amazon aren't far behind, and the "tablet wars" bear strong resemblance to that of the smartphone arena with the Apple iOS and Android operating systems starring as top contenders.
According to ABI Research, at the close of 2013 over 285 million "big brand" tablets (Apple or Samsung, for instance) were in use world-wide. Approximately a quarter of those tablets are in the United States. Forrester Research predicts 375 million tablets will be in the hands of users by the end of 2016 and more than half will run the Apple iOS. While the desktop PC will probably remain safe in some areas – the ability to burn discs, plug in a large amount of USB devices, enjoy multiple large screens and easily customize internal hardware will likely remain desirable features – it's clear that a revolution is underway.
Given the appeal of tablets for entertainment, music, e-reading and – perhaps most significantly – games for young children, many of whom master these devices before learning to read, tablets may seem to largely appeal to a consumer market. However, as the IT department of any company with a "Bring your own device" (BYOD) policy can attest, tablets are helping workers to get their jobs done as well.
Please share your input in the Tech Pro Research survey on whether tablets are in use at your organization and what benefits they may provide – as well as where their influence may be strongest. Are they being actively provided to employees or merely permitted via a BYOD program? In what areas are they providing unique value and where are they coming up short?
Please take our survey and let us know more about the use of tablets in your workplace. If
you'd like a free copy of the research report, normally available only
to Tech Pro Research subscribers, you'll have the option of entering
your email address at the end of the survey.
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic. She's an award-winning journalist and specializes in business and lifestyle features. She has also worked at People magazine, W magazine and Women's Wear Daily.