Enterprise Buyers Guide for Tablets: Connectivity, Pricing and Contracts

Your guide to choosing the best tablet PC for your small or medium business

Market roundup: Operating system road maps

Google’s Android

Android’s share of the market is expected to grow accounting for 38.6 per cent of the market by 2015. Gartner analyst, Carolina Milanesi, said the ecosystem of applications for tablets is becoming more competitive and above all, platform flexibility will enable lower price points.

While Google’s decision not to open up Honeycomb to third parties will prevent fragmentation, Milanesi said it will slow the expected decline in the average selling price (ASP) of Android tablets and ultimately cap market share.

RIM’s QNX

Gartner believes Research in Motion’s (RIM’s) opportunity with QNX will remain limited to enterprises that have already invested in a BlackBerry server. With the migration of BlackBerry devices to QNX in 2012, Milanesi said RIM will be able to offer users a consistent experience across its whole product portfolio and create a single developer community.

“Despite QNX being a strong platform that delivers on performance, graphics and multi-tasking features, success in the tablet market will be driven by richness of the ecosystem,” she said. “Also, RIM will need to move to the 10-inch form factor and implement a new, more competitive UI through its acquisition of The Astonishing Tribe (TAT).”

Milanesi said it will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX for it to be a viable alternative to Apple or Android.

As an established enterprise player, she said interest will come from organisations that already have RIM infrastructure deployed. “RIM can meet stringent security requirements better than its competitors and is also suitable for enterprises that have banned the iPad,” Milanesi said.

Microsoft Windows

Gartner expects Microsoft to bring to market a tablet-specific version of Windows 8 in 2012. Milanesi said Microsoft’s main limitation in this market is the late arrival of its products.

“Although the IT department will be happy to integrate Windows-based devices in their portfolios, many organisations will have already selected a platform,” she said adding that Microsoft could appeal to the late adopters who will opt for an OS that is familiar.

HP’s TouchPad

In the short term, Milanesi said HP’s approach to rolling out its TouchPad will remain cautious. The vendor will focus on sales on selected markets in Europe and North America rather than the Asia Pacific, as this is where it plans to concentrate its smartphone sales.

Apple iPad

It is not an exaggeration to say that the iPad has completely reinvented the tablet market. Put simply, it dominates the tablet market and Gartner expects 40 per cent of first generation iPad users to upgrade to iPad 2. The research firm expects Apple to continue to own the market through to 2015.

Milanesi said vendors try to compete with Apple by first delivering on the hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem. “They are prioritising hardware features over applications, services and the overall user experience,” she said. “This is a mistake, the focus should be on the ecosystem that is what has made the iPad so successful.”

The smartphone factor

Smartphone users will want to buy a tablet that runs the same OS as their smartphone. This will enable users to share applications across devices. Gartner believes platforms with a weak smartphone presence, such as MeeGo and WebOS, will have limited appeal.

Glossary of Terms

ASP: Average Selling Price

CDMA: Code Division Multiple Access

CSP: Communication Service Providers

HDMI: High-Definition Multimedia Interface

HSPA: High-Speed Packet Access

LTE: Long Term Evolution technologies

VPN: Virtual Private Network

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Tags tablet PCsEnterprise Buyers Guide for Tablets

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