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Australians lap up tablets, leave them at home: Telsyte

Australian businesses continue to discourage employees from bringing tablets into the workplace despite a massive spike in tablet sales this year, according to Telsyte survey results released today.

Telsyte said 2.4 million tablets were sold in Australia in 2012 and that by the end of the year more than 5 million Australian consumers used tablets. Telsyte predicted in 2013 that figure will grow by 50 per cent and by 2017 the number of tablet users may equal today's smartphone user base.

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However, Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi told Computerworld Australia that while organisations will increasingly adopt bring-your-own device (BYOD) strategies over time, tablets today are mostly used at home.

"Most organisations do not actively encourage or provide technical support for people to bring in their media tablets for work purposes," he said.

In addition, many organisations would need to upgrade Wi-Fi networks to support tablets in the workplace, he said.

Even so, Fadaghi said "a large number of respondents" who work "use their media tablets for work-related email, similar to the rate of use of work email on personal smartphones."

Meanwhile, retailers and digital advertisers should adopt a multi-screen strategy to take advantage of the growth in tablets, Fadaghi said.

Half of all tablet users bought a physical product or service on their tablet in 2012, Telsyte found.

"Some categories are approaching similar rates of ecommerce uptake as on computers, such as event tickets and travel related purchases," the organisation found.

"Telsyte expects this trend to continue as more shopping and catalogue applications appear in 2013."

Telsyte said the majority of tablets in the market are low-cost tablets with Wi-Fi only and 7 to 9-inch screens. The analyst firm predicted sales of those smaller tablets will exceed 10-inch devices like the Apple iPad by 2014.

Wi-Fi-only tablets are surpassing 3G and 4G devices because tablets are mainly used in the home, Telsyte said.

"More users are looking to WiFi-only devices with occasional smartphone tethering to facilitate connectivity when outside the house," it said.

Android tablets are quickly taking share from Apple due to their lower price, but the release of the iPad Mini has somewhat slowed Apple's decline.

"The growth of Android in the smartphone market is also creating a halo-effect for media tablets with consumers increasingly comfortable with the platform," Fadaghi said.

Windows 8 tablets are off to a slow start, but the analyst firm predicted they will "steadily grow in popularity," especially with businesses, younger users and consumers seeking laptop replacements.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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