Rain Dances, The Forecast

Are Traditional PC Manufacturers Giving Up On The Tablet Revolution?

It’s impossible to avoid the statistics, data points like “Apple iPad owns 88% of global tablet web traffic” and “95% of all tablets deployed in the Fortune 500 are iPads.” 

There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Apple’s iPad is the biggest seller in the tablet space, but we have seen many competitors hit the market this year.  The already-failed HP TouchPad, lackluster BlackBerry PlayBook (which just keeps getting cheaper), and the intriguing Amazon Kindle Fire are three notable attempts to take a piece of the iPad’s market share. “Attempt” is the operative word there, because as the stats above indicate, it’s not really working.  It’s still iPad’s market to lose.  

There is additional evidence to support this:  traditional PC manufacturers may be bowing out of the tablet battle, or are at least cutting back their production plans for tablets. 

The rollback of tablet production by major manufacturers is basically a concession of the market to Apple’s iPad (and technically to its closest competitors, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, too.) Sources have indicated that stalwart PC manufacturers like HP Acer and Dell are likely to "phase out” of the tablet market in the next 12 to 24 months. 

With HP not sure what to do with their tablet business after discontinuing it, Blackberry not being able to give away their Playbook, and all the other hardware manufacturers cutting back on tablet production, it’s probably overdue.

Apple iPad is the “gold standard.” It is the device that the users want. And, by all accounts, we’re shaping up for a Tablet Gold Rush. There are some specific applications in which the tablet presents real benefits to the business world. There seems to be a correlation between adoption of iPads and adoption of cloud computing, as well; deploying iPad in the workplace brings with it discussion of all the things we know as cloud computing, even if the client doesn’t know it immediately or intend for that to happen.

With all that said, the question that remains is:  how quickly should MSPs build their businesses behind Apple and iPad? As Kelly Damore of CRN writes,

While Apple has not traditionally leveraged the channel, VARs are proactively going to the company to get authorization to sell the iPad and develop on top of the iOS platform.

How quickly should we jumping on that bandwagon, and getting our service practices ready to support the iPad?  Fast, faster, or fastest? 

Then again, maybe that’s not the right question at all.  Here’s what Arlin Sorenson from Heartland Technology Groups has to say about this: 

We have a great group of early adopters in the fast track, and another set of HTG members who are walking down the path toward iOS certification. As I mentioned last month, I believe the next big wave will be in providing a great client experience no matter what client the customer is using. They don’t want to be bothered with devices and users – they just want to get at their network resources from anywhere at any time with any device by any user.

What Sorenson is trying to tell us is that, regardless of what hardware device or platform the client uses, the opportunity for us to succeed is in integration and services around mobile devices of all kinds, making them safe, secure, and functional tools for the businesses that want to use them. 

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