Although the Apple tablet been available for just seven months, the iPad is being strongly embraced by businesses, particularly financial services, health care, technology, and legal providers, say three separate enterprise surveys. A big reason is the iPad's ability to be both a general-purpose device like a computer and a highly managed special-purpose device like an appliance, notes Brian Reed, chief marketer at Boxtone, a mobile management provider that surveyed 1,200 enterprises on iPad usage.
Steve Wastie, product development VP at mobile connectivity management provider iPass, notes that iPass's survey of 1,100 customers showed that 13 percent already have iPads in use (mainly brought in by employees) and two-thirds expect iPads and similar devices to replace (27 percent) or supplement (39 percent) the laptop as their primary computing device.
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Despite its public consumer focus (consider how many TV shows now feature iPads used by their characters), Apple has apparently been aggressively pursuing enterprise usage as well, sending product managers and engineers to many large businesses to find out what they want in the iPad to meet their business needs, several CIOs have told me in recent months.
Other vendors are just starting to get their tablets to market, though only one business-oriented tablet, the HP Slate 500, is available today. So far, that device is not getting much enterprise discussion, notes both Reed and Wastie. That may be due to its newness.
HP Slate intended for custom apps, not general business use
But although Hewlett-Packard has marketed its Slate 500 on its website as "the ideal PC for professionals who don't usually work at a traditional desk, yet need to stay productive in a secure, familiar Windows environment," HP spokesman Roman Skuratovskiy says the Slate's intended use is far narrower: "The HP Slate 500 is designed to run custom applications created by enterprise customers, unlike HP's business laptops, desktops, etc." (HP declined further comment when asked to clarify that statement.)