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Will the Tablet Kill the PC? No, say CIOs

Despite the fun fare surrounding the launch of the iPad 3 (scheduled to be released today in San Francisco), Indian CIOs don't believe that tablets will conquer the enterprise.

It is undeniable that the tablet, especially Apple's iPad, is making inroads into the enterprise forcing enterprise applications to be modified for tablet use. However, it's still far away from becoming the quintessential business executive device say CIOs. "In the current avatar of iPad, I don't think it is a feasible idea. I am using iPad1 but in spite of my best effort I cannot do without my laptop even for my travelling needs," says Kamal Karnatak, group CIO, RJ Corp.

"The tablet will act as an additional access device and cannot be a complete replacement for the desktop/laptop. While usage of tablets will increase with enterprises adopting mobility in a larger way and also promoting adoption of BYOD to enable the advantages of greater mobility and flexibility for the mobile workforce, it will not completely replace the traditional desktop/laptops," believes Muralidharan Ramachandran, CIO, Syntel.

The primary concern seems to be the limitation of the tablet in editing documents and presentation along with the non-compatibility with traditional applications. "Most applications, like Keynote for e.g., still work only on a landscape mode, while the iPad keyboard works in a vertical mode. So unless you bend your back, its pretty hard to edit documents and make presentation on the iPad," feels Rohan Deshpande, CTO, Ogilvy and Mather.

Deshpande, who is himself is an iPad user, believes that the device is a great accessory for sales persons for making presentation. However he highlights that using an Apple device can pose to be a serious limitation while sharing presentations with clients who still run largely on the Windows platform. "When transferred to a Windows platform, you lose the font and structure of the presentation," he adds.

A logical solution that's emerging is a desktop-tablet combination, that's being considered by Sankarson Banerjee, CIO, IIFl. "I feel that there are many markets where tablets will, indeed, replace laptops. Home markets, in particular, are far more likely to move from laptops to tablets However in office environments, while there are many users who may actually find tablets better than laptops, it is more likely that both will co-exist," he says.

Banerjee further adds, "We're looking at tablets in some of our branch offices, where computing needs are simple - mostly data gathering and transmission - because the price points are very attractive and the power requirements much easier. In these situations a physical keyboard is a must, though cheap add-on keyboards are not difficult to get (even Apple's rather fancy one is just Rs. 4000)."


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