Corporate tablet purchasing is poised to take off during the few years, according to a new forecast from Gartner.
The research firm says that businesses across the globe will snap up 53 million tablets in 2016, more than triple the amount that they are expected to buy this year (13 million). Describing the consumerization of IT trend as an "unstoppable force," Gartner estimates that smartphone and tablet sales will reach 821 million units this year and cross the 1 billion unit threshold in 2013.
"In 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile," said Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi said in a statement.
Smartphones and tablets will make up 70 percent of all mobile devices sold in this year, adds Gartner. Such brisk mobile device adoption adds momentum to the BYOD phenomenon that's roiling the IT industry, said Milanesi.
Plus, it spells good news for mobile device management (MDM) solutions providers.
"For most businesses, smartphones and tablets will not entirely replace PCs, but the ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of tablets are changing the way businesses look at their device strategies and the way consumers embrace devices," said Milanesi.
While the iPhone is the poster child of the consumerization of IT trend, devices powered by Google's Android operating system are mounting a big challenge to Apple's market-leading handset. Rival research outfit IDC last week revealed that Android made up 75 percent of smartphone shipments during 3Q12.
Gartner predicts that "56 percent of smartphones purchased by businesses in North America and Europe will be Android devices in 2016," a 34 percent increase over this year's estimates. "Today the wide range of brands and price points that the Android ecosystem is offering is winning over users. While Apple remains the heartbeat by which the market moves, Google has rapidly become its archrival," said Milanesi.
And Microsoft's big bet on Windows 8 will pay off as far as business customers are concerned. Gartner expects Windows 8 tablets to trail Apple's iPad and Android slates, but by 2016, tablets and convertibles powered by the software giant's touch-friendly OS will make up 39 percent of the business market in 2016.