KEYSTONE, COLORADO: Enterprises are buying tablet PCs for staff at an unprecedented rate, and developers are flocking to the platforms to create new applications.
Michael Smith, associate product manager at content company Box.net, told delegates at the Cloud Identity Forum 2011 that enterprise tablet purchases are predicted to rise by over 5,000 per cent over the next year, according to the latest data from Canalys.
Companies are increasingly issuing tablets rather than laptops to entire sections of the workforce. Tablet designs are lighter, more intuitive and have a greater "sexiness factor" than standard laptops, he said, and are being used primarily by executives, field staff and sales people.
"A tablet can lie flat on a table, you can click on applications with an intuitive touch screen and they are easier to interact with," Smith explained.
"Tablets usually have lower costs than most laptops and there is a sexiness factor to owning a tablet. Customers report getting a fantastic vibe from using and viewing one."
Sally Hudson, research director at IDC, explained that tablets were initially brought into the enterprise by executives for personal use, but the flexibility of the devices now means that companies are increasingly specifying them as standard and insisting on support from the IT department.
Developers too are flocking to the platform. Recent research by IDC found that developers believe tablets offer a better development environment for applications and more flexibility for business software functions.
Over a quarter of coders surveyed said that tablets offer better integration with back-end enterprise systems than laptops or PCs, and over 90 per cent are interested in developing for iPad and Android tablets.
Around 70 per cent are interested in RIM's PlayBook, and just over half are considering HP's webOS.
"From a development perspective Apple is easy to write for, with lots of APIs and a single write and test process," Smith told V3.co.uk.
"Android is slightly tougher, because there are a whole range of devices to test, but it's amazingly flexible."
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