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Exclusive Data: iPad Indifference? Tablets Replacing Few PCs In Business

IT pros don't expect iPads or other tablets to win out over PCs, even for niche uses or mobile workers. That's a danger sign.

We asked 552 business technology pros to share their thinking about tablet computers. Here's what we learned. [The data comes from InformationWeek Analytics, our subscription-only research group. Subscribe here.]

Companies won't replace PCs with tablets

Just 4% strongly agree that they'll give at least 10% of employees tablets who would normally have desktops or laptops. Eight percent agree. Fifty-one percent strongly disagree.

So tech pros are thinking of tablets as add-ons to PCs in nearly all cases, not a replacement.

Even for niche roles, tablets won't replace many PCs

Just 7% strongly agree that, "for select users in certain roles," the tablet will be their "main computer." Forty percent strongly disagree.

This result is surprising. There's a lot of room in this question to dream up niche uses where a tablet might be an employee's main machine--notice we didn't even say "only" computer. This suggests a high level of skepticism for business use of tablets.

Not even road warriors will flock to tablets

Just 5% strongly agree that road warriors will prefer a tablet over a PC, while 27% strongly disagree. There's more uncertainty on this one, though, as 34% neither agree nor disagree.

Again, we didn't say road warriors had to give up their PCs, just that they'd prefer a tablet. So again, high skepticism. One thing to watch is how much laptops steal the iPad's best features. Already, the Macbook Air has instant on--a dream feature compared to the interminable boot-up time of my laptop. Dell has pitched a laptop that swivels into a netbook. This whole tablet category could get blurry in a hurry. Of course, this question ultimately will be answered by the road warriors, not the technologists.

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