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What CIOs need to know about hybrid tablets

Sarah K. White | March 2, 2016
As hybrid devices become more popular with consumers, they're starting to find their place in the enterprise. However, there is a lot to consider before you decide to deploy them company-wide.

In the past few years, notebooks have gotten more complicated. Today, if you look for a new notebook, you’re met with a slew of options including a lot of devices that look like tablets, but act like notebooks, or vice versa. Gartner states that, in 2015, 13.5 million hybrid devices were shipped worldwide, which marks a 77 percent year-over-year growth and makes it the “fastest growing segment of the device market.” But while consumers have mostly embraced the tablet-hybrid options, the enterprise is still catching up with hybrid adoption.

Transition to Windows 10 continues

Gartner also says that, while adoption in the enterprise is slow, as more companies transition to Windows 10, it has helped drive the hybrid-tablet business market. Also affecting Windows 10 adoption -- and consequently hybrid adoption -- is that Microsoft plans to cease support for Windows 7 by 2020, forcing most IT departments to make the switch to Windows 10. “We expect Windows 10 will bring a stronger value proposition case for enterprise to embrace other form factors than the clamshell notebook. Windows 10 on hybrid ultra-mobiles will offer a better user experience with touch and voice,” according to the study/

Hybrid tablets vie for a place in the enterprise

Tech companies like Microsoft, Apple and Samsung have also made it clear that they want to get their devices into the enterprise. Microsoft arguably started it all with its Surface lineup, and while there were hybrid devices that came before, Microsoft was the first to successfully push the tablet-hybrid as a notebook replacement. And with improved enterprise support, they’re making a strong push to become the enterprise standard. Then Apple released the iPad Pro, along with a keyboard and Apple Pencil for maximum productivity. Meanwhile, Samsung recently announced the Samsung Tab Pro, a Windows 10 hybrid device, which is a departure from its traditionally Android-based devices.

Mike Guggemos, CIO of Insight Enterprises, says, “Hybrid devices are, for the moment, being used selectively at the enterprise level, but that will likely change in the future for one really simple reason: They are extremely powerful. For example, Microsoft’s Surface device is first and foremost a laptop computer that also happens to have the functionality and aesthetic of a tablet.  We are already seeing field-based organizations, where the bulk of the work is being done remotely, looking at broad deployment of hybrid devices.” Gartner’s study supports the idea that field-based industries are paving the way in tablet-hybrid adoption. The study points specifically to the fact that hybrids are being put to use in the insurance field to use the tablets to run sample policies and input a client’s data on the spot.


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