Are iPads and Androids Pushing PCs to the Enterprise Margins?: Page 2


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RBC Capital Markets is more bullish, believing that tablet revenues will balloon from $11 billion in 2010 to $70 billion in 2014, representing 185 million units shipped. RBC believes that part of the tablet’s appeal will be that it can function as a mobile thin client for cloud computing environments.

Finally, RBC believes that Android tablets will soon surpass iPads to grab the market-share lead.

“Tablets have been in the market for a long time, from early Windows-based tablets to the iPad,” said Mayur Kamat, Product Manager, Enterprise Mobility for Google. “We looked at the tablet device from a completely different angle. It’s not just about a larger screen on a mobile device, but about enabling new usage scenarios.”

Does Motorola’s Atrix 4G represent the way forward?

When I asked Kamat whether Android would end up inspiring other device form factors in the near future, he argued that it already has. “The openness of the Android operating system allows developers to create a number of different devices,” he said.

As an example, he pointed to Motorola’s Atrix 4G, a dual-core smartphone, featuring special docks that extend the device’s functionality. Atrix 4G’s optional docks transform the phone into a laptop, a media hub or an in-vehicle GPS.

What the enterprise could end up seeing in the near future is form truly following function. Just as apps emerge to tackle specific business challenges – with many larger business suites now losing out to more task-specific applications – purpose-specific apps wrapped in the most appropriate hardware package could soon become a reality.

Thus, you could see traveling service technicians with small tablets loaded up with schematics, scheduling and customer service apps, along with an in-vehicle dock that pulls up the device’s GPS and links it to the next appointment. You could see marketing teams with tablets that come with built-in projectors for multimedia presentations. And you will definitely see a number of social-media inspired devices that target consumers and networking-savvy professionals alike.

Will the PC go away? I doubt it. The PC will have a place in both the enterprise and homes for many years to come. However, its status as the go-to computing device for most people is coming to an end. Other devices will take over more and more of the PC’s functionality, and those devices will additionally benefit from having more rapid replacement cycles. Everyone wants the latest and greatest mobile device, after all.

With the PC, most of us will make do until it pretty much stops working – and when it does, more and more people will ask themselves whether they really need a new PC when they already spend most of their computing time on their tablets and phones.

That day is not here yet, but it’s closer than you think.

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Tags: android apps, iPad apps, smartphone, Enterprise IT, tablets

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