ANALYSIS: BBC trials raise possibilities of second wave of enterprise devices

Tablets re-entering business market

After seeing limited penetration with previous generations, the tablet PC seems once again poised for success in the business market.

It was recently revealed that the British Armed Forces and the BBC have both been trialling Apple’s iPad to see whether the device was able to improve efficiency. Although a BBC spokesperson told PCR that the trials were strictly just that, the fact remains that the device has seen a lot of interest from the most unlikely quarters.

“We definitely see the tablet as a viable tool for business,” GfK account executive Chris Kennedy-Sloane told PCR. "74 per cent of all traditional tablets were sold through business channels. While it’s only 25 per cent for less traditional Slate-style devices, there is clearly a sizeable business demand for both these types of product.”

Canalys analyst Tim Coulling has also noted the strong performance of tablet PCs in certain markets: “Tablets have been around for a while, but haven’t really taken off except in specific vertical niches.

“The problem with them is the reliance on Windows – originally Windows XP Tablet Edition and now Windows 7. This latest release has certainly improved on things, and if the touch aspect improves the overall experience then I don’t see why they shouldn’t succeed.”

Although Apple has been the pioneers in the tablet PC space, there are a slew of rival releases scheduled for later this year, so are there any early contenders for the business market?

“iPads have tended to appear in those industries where Apple already has a presence, so designers and content development,” noted Coulling. “However, I don’t realistically see anyone replacing their desktop PCs with iPads any time soon.

“For me, the strongest contender in the enterprise sphere is likely to be the HP Slate, which is being specifically positioned for business. I haven’t seen any prices yet though, so it’ll be interesting to see how it compares.”

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