Demand for Tablet PCs has got off to a slow start, with the majority of IT decision makers showing no sign of investing in the much-hyped technology, according to analyst IDC.
The fourth quarter of 2002 was the first sales period following the launch of Tablet PCs late last year.
But only 20,000 shipments were made in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, compared to almost three million notebook sales.
"It is not surprising that businesses have not immediately adopted Tablet PCs," said Andy Brown, IDC's research manager EMEA mobile computing, in a statement.
"IT decision makers need to see greater stability on the platform, as well as a convincing return on investment argument, before deciding to implement them within an organisation."
IDC's Survey of Business User Spending, which measured spending intentions for 2003, reveals little interest in Tablet PCs.
It found that 60 per cent of IT directors in businesses of all sizes were not interested in buying tablet PCs, and a quarter were not even aware of what is on offer.
Simon Ognall, managing director of reseller Teksys, said the high interest he had seen in the product from a concept point of view had not been matched by take-up.
"We are stocking all the main brands but they are seen more as a nice-to-have than a need-to-have," he said. The current price, as well as cultural and performance issues, are holding back adoption, he added.
"They are too expensive in a price-sensitive market, with the average system costing about £2,000," he said.
"Customers are also waiting for the second generation of products with faster processors and better battery lives."
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