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Can tablets replace laptops in the enterprise?

They're smaller, lighter, more portable and can do just about everything that laptops can do. But enterprise tablets haven't replaced PCs -- at least not yet.

The iPad Pro, Surface Pro 4 and other tablets are becoming more prevalent in the enterprise. But can tablets replace laptops in the workplace? All signs point to yes. Today's enterprise tablets give laptops a run for their money on several fronts:

Performance: The performance of the processors and graphics processors in tablets is virtually the same or better than many laptops on the market. For example, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet has the same processor as the MacBook Air, but it has a better display and longer battery life.

Portability: Tablets are also generally lighter than laptops. Even with a 12.9-inch display, the iPad Pro weighs more than a pound less than the 13.3-inch MacBook Air. Lighter still are the iPad Air 2 and the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Accessories: It has traditionally been hard to use tablets to give presentations in conference rooms and other business settings. Now, more companies have tablet-compatible dongles, Wi-Fi-enabled projectors and streaming devices such as Apple TV to address that problem. Bluetooth keyboards for tablets today are full-sized, and some provide an even better user experience than laptops' native keyboards.

All of these developments show that tablets can replace laptops in the enterprise. Whether they will or not remains to be seen.

Next Steps

What's driving tablet adoption in the enterprise?

Can iPads replace PCs in the enterprise?

Small businesses opt for tablets over laptops

This was last published in April 2016

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Essential Guide

Essential guide to laptop, desktop PC and mobile device strategy

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Which work tasks would you prefer to do on a tablet versus a laptop?
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We had sales people with computers and ipads for offsite. We replaced both with Surface Pro with docking stations with large monitors, keyboards and mice for office. Users say it is so much better. They can work anywhere with the same apps and power of a desktop, even walking thru a jobsite. Surface Pro is the way to go.
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While you mention performance and portability and accessories, the next issue is apps. I await full-capability in tablet apps, particularly spreadsheets and word processing. They should eventually make use of the advantages of tablets such as touch screen, onboard camera, etc and work around the disadvantages such as small screens and limited multi-tasking.
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I'm going to have to look at more up to date tablets than what I have -- and, honestly, I thought vendors haven't been putting out too many new tablets lately -- but my impression is that they haven't been all that great with handling more than one thing at a time, and exchanging information between multiple apps and having multiple apps running is something I still need a laptop for.
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Replace...? Not likely, at least not in the foreseeable future. Remember that television was going to replace movies, and VHS tapes were going to replace television and DVDs were going to replace VHS tapes (okay, that one is mostly true) 4K was going to replace high-def and 3D was going to replace.... Yeah, I know, I'm all media here, not tech, but the same principals apply. We use whatever works as long as it works. 

I don't get rid of my desktop when I bought a laptop, nor dump the laptop when I got a tablet, nor toss the tablet when my cellphone became readable. Nor throw away my cameras. Nor.....
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Heck, I ran into someone selling an 8-track tape player and a box of tapes at a garage sale a couple of weeks back.
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Tablet usage is definitely growing in the enterprise. 1 key for IT teams is to ensure they can manage all of the devices on which their workforce relies, in a unified and consistent way - PCs, tablets, mobile and virtual devices. 
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Not in software development and testing. As light devices for data consumption and communication - why not.
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LOL. Good luck with that, Mike. Let me know when you find a way. 
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