Enterprise applications continue their charge into the mobile market and are set to take over about a third of all tablets in the next few years, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive.
More than 1 in 5 Americans will own a tablet by 2014, and 37 percent of them will own them for business use, according to the survey. About half of all tablet owners plan to use the devices for social networking.
The survey was sponsored by Fuze Box, a company that has created a number of its own collaboration applications, including Fuze Meeting for the iPad.
What the survey doesn’t take into account is just what the tablet market will look like by 2014. Apple’s touchscreen iPad is the clear leader right now, with 95 percent of the tablet market. But Microsoft’s strategy to date has centered on what it bills as a stylus-using “slate” computer that runs on Windows 7 rather than a true tablet with a lightweight operating system like Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which runs Google’s Android operating system.
Another interesting tidbit: more than a third of tablet owners expect to use it for web conferencing and online meetings. The iPad in its current form doesn’t have a front-facing camera for Apple’s video-calling app Facetime. But the next version of the iPad will likely have one, as has already been widely speculated.
Mobile phones have already begun their grand entrance into the enterprise space with applications like Salesforce’s Chatter and Yammer landing on the Apple App Store and the Android marketplace. Since most tablets run the same operating systems as their smartphone counterparts, it’s easy enough to port those same applications to tablet computers. So expect to see some of the best enterprise applications popping up on tablets — if they haven’t already.
Here’s the survey’s breakdown of what people will use their tablets for most:
- Browsing the Internet (78%)
- Email (75%)
- Reading e-books/newspapers (53%)
- Social networking (50%)
- Watching TV/movies (43%)
- Business/Professional purposes (37%)
- Gaming (33%)
And here’s the survey’s breakdown of what business users will be doing with their tablets:
- Business correspondence (58%)
- Online meetings/Web conferences (37%)
- Marketing (34%)
- Training (33%)
- Finance/accounting (32%)
- Sales (27%)
- Graphic design (27%)
- Inventory management (27%)
- Customer support (24%)
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the devices are seeing some growth in the enterprise space. About half of the largest companies in the world on the Fortune 100 list have begun either testing or full-out using the iPad for their corporate needs. Though Apple is a leader in that market for now, there are a number of other tablets rising up to challenge it. That includes one made by Research in Motion, whose BlackBerry smartphone is famous for its enterprise capabilities.