Will Tablets Destroy The Laptop?

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The new mobile workplace means taking your office with you wherever you go. The cool factor of the iPad and other tablet PCs can’t be denied, but tablets won’t be taken seriously by businesses until the apps are there.

Not the fun apps that entertain, nor GPS apps that get you where you’re going, but real productivity apps that bring business value to the tablet.

Tablets battle the divide between want and need–and right now they largely remain a luxury item. Nielsen data this week finds that just 5 per cent of US consumers have tablets.

Analysts predict that by 2015, 82 million US consumers will own one, showing major disruptive potential. For business to embrace them (which would drive consumption even higher), they will require productivity apps that let professionals conduct business from the tablet, just as if they were on a laptop.

The reality of how we conduct business today is that we are not tied to desks because computing experiences are ubiquitous in the post-PC era. We are constantly on the move, in sales calls, on aeroplanes or trains, in a coffee shop, in another country, at home or on vacation. Business doesn’t stop at 5 p.m. We need access to our documents, our presentations, our email, our Rolodex–and all the digital content we use to work with our teams and get our jobs done.

Even though 
the technology is still in its early stages, the tablet has real business potential. But it requires a different way of thinking to match a different way of working. App makers need to consider not only the form factor, but the reality of use–connectivity is not always a given. Apps also need to build in security for business because the data is trusted to the cloud and should be securely stored and automatically backed up.

Above all, phones and tablets in the Apple era need to be a seamless, integrated computing experience, hiding any complexity. The user doesn’t want to download more than they need, have to transfer between applications or think about workflow. True mobility means the freedom to do business anywhere and anytime, with all your important information available on any computer, tablet or phone.

Today I can project a presentation, edit an Excel spreadsheet and share pictures or any other files in real time–from my iPad–wherever I am. Usually, my laptop is left behind at the office.