Tablets the last nail in netbook’s coffin
Technology analysts expect that the market for tablet devices like the iPad by Apple Inc., will soar and start to enter the enterprise market.

Analysts have differing opinions on if the tablet will be successful in an enterprise market, but agree on the increase of its usage among consumers.

According to a report by Info-Tech Research Group Inc., we can expect to see more enterprise-targeted tablets this year, but “there’s a good chance it’s not for your business.”

The growth in this (tablet) market is unprecedented,” said Dmitriy Molchanov, a Yankee Group analyst. “The tablet sales curve is rising faster than that of HDTVs, handheld gaming consoles or even MP3 players.”

With 2010 came the introduction of the iPad and so far it’s been selling well according to Info-Tech. The iPad made about six million sales in its fourth quarter this year, according to an article from the Toronto Star. In compariso,n Samsung‘s Galaxy Tab sold around two million units by Dec. 3, 2010, about two months after its release.

“Apple has introduced a truly disruptive product. The iPad has created a new category of personal computing and addressed a market demand,” according to Info-Tech.

The global market for tablets is expected to increase to $46 billion U.S. by 2014 from the $16 billion made in 2010, according to a forecast by Yankee Group, a research firm. The research group anticipates the amount of tablets sold will rise to 168 million in 2014 from the 21 million sold in 2010. The U.S. market for these devices will make over $7 billion in 2015. People all around the world are buying tablets and last year 37 per cent of total sales were made in North America.

In the enterprise market, companies will want to develop their own versions of tablets. With more of these devices entering the market, the competition will drive down the price. The price is estimated to drop to around $237 in 2015, the Yankee Group report said..

The technology is now more for consuming information, rather than the creation of it, so businesses may not find this technology as useful as consumers.

“The creation of data is awkward, it’s more for consuming data,” said Elliot Ross, IT manager at Independent Learning Systems, a company specializing in online learning.

There has not been any use of tablets at his company in the IT department or by ILS customers. However, he does see a potential use in training some businesses how to use the technology. It would be particularly useful in upscale retail, like in car or furniture sales, to show customers price comparisons.

Right now though, there are security concerns for companies about the future onslaught of tablets because these devices use wireless Internet much like cell phones and laptops. Therefore, companies have to make sure that the wireless access is set up properly and secured, Ross said.

Many upgrades can also be made to this technology, such as adding a camera in the device, which could be useful for video conferencing, especially for businesses, according to Ross. More connection ports for plugging in various devices, faster speeds, and bigger screens are also more additions that might be seen with this year’s wave of new tablets.

Unlike tablets, the netbooks craze is dying down. This year in August, netbook sales decreased by four per cent from last year’s sales, according to  

“The netbook is the first to suffer,” Dmitriy Molchanov said.

He predicts their cannibalization by tablets. Market analysts at Info-Tech also said they see this decline. The netbook debuted in late 2007 with the release of the Asus EEE, and just over three years later, it is expected to cease to exist.

“The tablet put the last nail in the netbook coffin,” according to Info-Tech.