While some market research firms have been predicting that the post-PC era – dominated by tablets and smartphones – will arrive in a few more years, there are some indications that it is already here.
Case in point: NPD DisplaySearch predicts in its “Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report” that tablet PC shipments will reach more than 240 million units worldwide in 2013, surpassing the 207 million notebook PCs that are projected to ship in the same period.
This is not the first such prediction. Taiwan-based DigiTimes Research made a similar prediction in December 2012 that global tablet shipments would surpass 210 million units in 2013, outpacing notebooks.
These trends are primarily being driven by activity in emerging markets and the sales of so-called white-label tablets. A white-label tablet is one that has no brand name on it. These tend to be general and very low end, with a basic Android operating system and little else. White-label tablets put computing devices into the hands of residents in rural China, India, Africa, and South America.
CIOs take note, though: Even in PC-saturated major markets, we’re seeing significant tablet advances. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple reportedly sold 23 million iPads worldwide, while IDC reports that total tablet shipments worldwide reached 52.5 million, in the same time period, a 75.3 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2011. On the other hand, Gartner reports that worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012 (including desktops and notebooks) declined 4.9 percent to 90.3 million compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.
One of the things speeding up the adoption rate of tablets is the small form factor. With the success of the seven-inch iPad Mini and seven-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the handheld form factor is taking off. DisplaySearch projects tablets with seven- to eight-inch screens will account for a 45 percent share of total tablet sales in 2013, compared to a 17 percent share for the nine- to 10-inch models.
As you prepare your enterprise IT technology roadmap, it’s time to do more than consider tablets. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster surveyed 59 CIOs in various industries and found that 15 percent plan to embark on “broad” tablet deployments in 2013. The percentage of CIOs who said they had no tablet deployment plans dropped from 54 percent in the company’s 2012 survey to 42 percent in the 2013 poll.
Is your enterprise ready for the tablet onslaught? Here are some of the measures you should have in place:
- An enforced BYOD policy
- Policies concerning ownership of data on the device
- Device theft and lost data management plans
If you’re looking for guidance, there are a number of tablet conferences in the months ahead, such as the TabTimes Tablet Strategy conference in New York City on April 30, and the World of Tablets conference in Las Vegas on May 22. These events are all about business, not Angry Birds. It’s probably time to get out of the office and see what tablets will mean for your business.
Andy Patrizio writes for UBM Tech.