According to a poll conducted last month by Sybase Inc. regarding mobile device use, the No. 1 reason U.S. consumers would use a tablet computer such as the Apple iPad is to work out of the office. Out of 2,443 adults polled, more than half (52.3%) reported that they are most likely to use a tablet device to work on the go, while only 27.1% said that they would use it to watch television and movies.
While Apple has marketed the iPad to a largely consumer audience, the study revealed that users are increasingly interested in mobile appliances that can integrate both personal and enterprise functionality.
Need For Greater Access to Information
The results contrast current conventional wisdom, as a study conducted earlier this year by Crowd Science concluded that only 1% of iPhone owners use it to conduct business. However the findings reflect the importance of enterprise mobility initiatives and the challenges that businesses and operators face when building a productive mobile work environment.
While three quarters of smartphone users surveyed in the Sybase poll believed that devices like the iPad increase productivity, many also stressed the need for enhanced access to work applications. Although Apple offers thousands of applications for the iPad, nearly three quarters of respondents (72.3%) said they have access to less than 10% of the necessary programs to do their jobs.
Potential Problems Moving Forward
Reviewers generally indicate that the iPhone is an easy-to-use device, but functionality is not enough to satisfy consumer needs, and greater access to data is necessary if the iPad is to become an office essential. TabletPCReview.com’s Ed Hardy said as much in his iPad first-look review.
“The design is very simple, with a minimum number of buttons, ports, etc. It’s a clean look, but somewhat limits what you can do with the device,” he said.
The Sybase poll results fuels the debate regarding the practical application of mobile and tablet devices both in and out of the workplace. While the iPad could potentially provide great value to information workers, the general implication is that businesses will be asked to support them, which could prove to be problematic for companies not keen on conducting business wirelessly.