Your next co-worker: A tablet

Analysts say tens of millions of tablet computers will appear at companies within 5 years.

By Kim Peterson Feb 21, 2011 12:36PM
Credit: (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption: Apple iPadApple (AAPL) has been selling its iPad for nearly a year now -- enough time for it to have made solid inroads with corporate America.

The list of companies that now use the iPad in their offices is growing, including General Electric (GE), Wells Fargo (WFM) and Medtronic (MDT), The New York Times reports. Apple says at least 80% of Fortune 100 companies are using or testing the iPad.

But this is just the beginning for tablet computers in the workplace. As companies such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Research in Motion (RIMM) debut their own tablets this year, the devices will spring up across the office.

One analyst told the Times he expects tens of millions of tablets in American offices by 2015. "It will be the fastest uptake of any device in the enterprise ever," he added. "Faster than PCs, faster than laptops and faster than smart phones."

Post continues after video:
Why do businesses love the tablet? Here are four reasons:

They're cheap. Cheaper than a traditional computer. The iPad starts at $500.

They can be customized. Companies can easily develop specialized apps for their employees. Tellabs (TLAB), a telecom equipment company, built a warehouse shipping app for employees to use on the iPad, TMCnet reports.

They're fast. That custom shipping app, by the way, is 63% faster than a traditional laptop, Tellabs says.

They're easy to use. With no keyboard, a touch screen and the ability to narrow down the apps used, companies can make tablets as easy, or as complicated, as they'd like. The tablets are also very durable.

There's one more reason tablets will pop up at the workplace, the Times reports. Employees will buy their own, then bring them in and ask for access to corporate networks.

"We can't tell people not to use this technology at work," an executive at NBC Universal told the Times. "If we did, they would continue to use it, and we would be in the dark about what they do."

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