Businesses plan a tablet buying spree

Calling the demand for tablets "explosive," ChangeWave reported that 14 per cent of the businesses polled said they are planning to buy tablets for employees in the first quarter of 2011

The number of corporations arming workers with tablets will double early this year, a research firm said last month, citing its recent survey of 1,641 IT buyers.

The November poll by ChangeWave Research showed that Apple Inc.'s iPad will remain the dominant workplace tablet even as historically strong enterprise players like Hewlett-Packard Co. enter the market.

Calling the demand for tablets "explosive," ChangeWave reported that 14 per cent of the businesses polled said they are planning to buy tablets for employees in the first quarter of 2011. About seven per cent of all companies polled by ChangeWave said that they currently provide some workers with tablets. That represents a one-point increase from the percentage of respondents who gave that answer in a similar ChangeWave poll in August 2010.

"What's striking about the survey results is the intensity of the leap in demand [among enterprises]. It was much more than what we were expecting," said Paul Carton, head of research at ChangeWave in Rockville, Md.

Apple's iPad will continue to dominate the business tablet market, overshadowing HP's Slate , Dell Inc.'s Streak and the forthcoming PlayBook from Research in Motion Ltd. Of the companies planning to purchase tablets in the first three months of 2011, 78 per cent cited the iPad as their choice. Dell, HP and RIM were essentially tied for second place, with Dell and RIM getting nine per cent of the votes and HP eight per cent.

"Apple has a huge lead over everyone," Carton said. "It's clearly the gold standard."

The poll found that the most popular work-related uses of tablets are accessing the Internet and checking e-mail, but Carton added that the results showed a healthy gain in the use of tablets in place of traditional laptops.

The ChangeWave research indicated that the iPad's overall satisfaction rating was 97 per cent, surpassing the satisfaction ratings for HP's tablet (74 per cent) and Dell's tablet (69 per cent).

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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Gregg Keizer

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