Tablets on the Job

9/24/2012

The tablet market shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, one analyst firm has even revised its forecast to reflect increased demand. But tablets aren’t just for consumers—the enterprise is finding interesting ways to use tablets to improve processes and work more efficiently.

According to IDC, www.idc.com, even though there are ongoing economic concerns around the world, consumers are still buying tablets in record numbers. The analyst firm recently increased its forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 117.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of 107.4 million units for 2012. By 2016, IDC says worldwide shipments should reach 261.4 million units.

However, on the dedicated ereader side of the equation, the outlook isn’t as rosy. IDC lowered its forecast for ereaders in 2012, saying 2012 shipments will reach a maximum of 23.6 million units, which is down from the 27.7 million units that shipped during 2011. IDC sees sub-$200 tablets (such as the Kindle Fire) as taking marketshare away from ereaders.


Walmart also sees the Kindle taking something away, and that’s sales. The retail giant recently said it will no longer sell Kindle devices in its stores. While no official reason was given, it’s likely Walmart is distressed about people visiting its stores to view the Kindle, then purchasing it elsewhere, as well as the fact the Kindle provides the user a direct link to purchase many more products from Amazon.

Tablets are certainly hot, and not just for consumers. They are making inroads for business, such as a recently announced project by American Airlines, www.aa.com. Later this year the airline will equip flight attendants with the Samsung Galaxy Note. The tablet program is designed to provide flight attendants with more up-to-date information on passengers.

For instance, attendants will be able to access data such as a customer’s name and seat number, as well as loyalty program status and meal preferences. American also says when Wi-Fi is available on the aircraft, information related to connecting gates, flight delays, and weather will be updated automatically, pending FAA approval. According to the airline, by the end of the year, 91% of American’s domestic fleet will be Wi-Fi enabled.

While American Airlines has chosen a Samsung tablet device, IDC says Apple still leads the market with its iPad. However, IDC believes Windows tablets will grow from about 1% of the market in 2011 to 4% in 2012, perhaps reaching 11% by 2016.

Whichever tablet manufacturers end up leading the market, the devices seem likely to continue their march into every aspect of life, both personal and professional.




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