ChangeWave survey: Corporate tablet demand 'exploding'

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The ever-inquisitive ChangeWave Research has been digging deeper into the iPad’s place in the corporate world. With a new survey completed in November, the market research firm’s watchful eye turned towards the iPad’s current and future prospects in corporate circles, as well as how businesses are using their iPads now.

Among the respondents to ChangeWave’s survey of 1,641 business IT buyers, 7 percent said their companies already provide employees with tablets. More interestingly, though, is that 14 percent of them said their companies plan to purchase tablets in the first quarter of 2011, a huge potential leap in corporate tablet usage in a matter of months.

Which tablets are these companies planning to purchase, you ask? Even though the iPad is no longer the only fish in this rapidly expanding pond—competitors like the Windows-based HP Slate and Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab are now available, and RIM’s PlayBook scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of 2011—Apple’s tablet still dominates, with 78 percent of respondents planning to buy iPads.

Of the iPads already employed in the corporate world, ChangeWave compared usage numbers for various tasks against a similar survey it took in August. The top three uses remain Internet access (up from 55 percent in August to 73 percent in November), checking e-mail (up from 57 to 69 percent), and working away from office (up from 52 to 67 percent). Sales support and customer presentations also saw modest growth, but the most interesting increase is in respondents who use their tablet as a laptop replacement, which leapt from 25 to 38 percent.

That last data point shouldn’t be too surprising, though, as businesses have been putting the iPad to work almost since day one. Plus, analysts have been predicting that the iPad and its competitors could eventually spell doom for netbooks and clobber PC sales in 2011—and key business-friendly features in iOS 4.2 for iPad couldn’t have hurt, either.

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