Deloitte made a prediction today that organizations will buy on the order of 10 million tablets this year.
We see this as another sign of the transition to an enterprise that requires better device portability and accessibility to information that you can act upon no matter where you might be.
According to Reuters, Deloitte said that the healthcare and retail sectors alone could purchase 5 million tablets this year.
At Dreamforce late last year, we had breakfast one morning with the team from Appirio, a services company that helps companies integrate Salesforce.com into their enterprise environment.
At the table sat an IT executive from a healthcare organization. He talked about the transition to an enterprise running on Apple hardware. The company now has 800 iPhones, 8,000 iTouches and is ramping up with 200 iPads. Our guess is that next year the company will have bought at least double that number.
It's without question we are seeing the dawn of a new device universe inside the enterprise. As Deloitte points out, 50% of all computing device sold around the world in 2011 will not be personal computers. PC sales will be on the order of 400 million units. But the combined sale of smartphones, tablets and netbooks will well exceed that total.
That trend will deeply affect the enterprise both this year and for many years to come. The PC era is starting to sunset.
We talk about mobile quite a bit but there are issues that come with tablets. Content synchronization, for instance, is needed to optimize the experience for the user. New types of chips and operating systems will continue to change the scope of the device market. How all these devices will connect is a big question that will require considerable attention in the year ahead.