Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

Tablets are the hot new product for the mobile market. Most recently, RIM has launched its PlayBook, while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Dell’s Streak have also hit the market in the last few months. What do you see tablets adding to the mobile landscape? Is this a new dimension, or a fad?

Rimma Perelmuter, Mobile Entertainment Forum executive director: The strong line up of new tablets planned for 2011, together with Gartner’s recent forecast that the number of tablet devices shipped next year will more than double, from just under 20 million in 2010 to 55 million, suggests that this addition to the mobile market is far from a fad.

The tablet marks a watershed moment in positioning the mobile connected device at the centre of consumers’ content experience and in turn, providing the wider publishing and media industries with significant revenue opportunities.

Rimma Perelmuter
Rimma Perelmuter

Condé Nast managing director, Nicolas Coleridge, has predicted that as much as 40% of the publishing house’s sales will come from apps for the iPad and similar devices in the future. In addition, Apple and News Corp have recently launched The Daily, a daily newspaper designed specifically and exclusively for tablet devices.

The impact of the tablet on users’ consumption habits, combined with its potential to open up new revenue opportunities for different players in the value chain, points to a format which looks set to play a significant role in the mobile communications and entertainment markets going forward.

Nonetheless, the rise of the tablet adds yet another mobile device to the multi-platform mix and brings with it associated challenges. If the tablet market is to match predicted industry forecasts, it is essential for content and technology companies to recognise the unique attributes of mobile and plan accordingly for the seamless distribution of content across multiple platforms.


Jason Kemp, Data Select head of marketing: Tablets are this year’s netbook. They provide an alternative way of accessing content and are just a natural development of the original laptop market. What next, a laptop with a touchscreen? Similar to a Motorola Milestone but bigger!

Tablets will be big for 12 months, then they will position themselves within the laptop and netbook market. They will not replace either, they are just an alternative form factor. Mobiles have had that for years, with slide, clam, candybar, QWERTY, and QWERTY slide; the tablet just increases customer choice.

Obviously tablets provide dealers with a great opportunity to sell data SIM’s on either contract or prepay, increasing customer usage and revenue.

On who the market for these tablets might be, look at most people’s company laptops; they are pretty much cheap Dell’s and Acers across the board. A laptop is a tool, and business buys with its head and not heart. The tablet appeals to the heart, so is firmly a consumer product, or at best limited to media types who need to create a cool impression.

Jason Kemp, Data Select head of marketing
Jason Kemp

Andy Tow, managing director, Avenir Telecom:: With the rapid introduction of tablets still on the increase, and with popularity continuing to rise, not only has this new technology been a phenomenon on the consumer side, but we are increasingly seeing massive potential for the mobile business market.

According to Canalys, smartphones and tablets are expected to drive EMEA growth, with smartphones projected to climb to 147 million shipments in 2012, bringing in a 16% year on year increase, and the tablets to 19m, a 64% increase.

As this evidence suggests, although tablets are currently seen as a fashionable must-have, I truly think that tablets are going to grow to become an essential part of daily business life, in just the same way that mobile has.

We all know that having a tablet looks great, but for those working in a time starved, fast paced role, these tablets offer convenience, practicality and the ability to integrate all technologies to achieve a smooth business environment whether in the office or on the move.

Having already seen the successful launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Dell’s Streak earlier this year, I think another huge entrant for mobile dealers is going to be RIM’s PlayBook.

Andy Tow
Andy Tow

The importance placed on having instant access to email, editable documents, internet browsing and above all a ‘one stop shop’ for each and every business activity, is now non-negotiable.

Additionally, with touchscreens offering an enhanced user experience, tablets will instantly give mobile dealers the opportunity to offer the latest ‘all in one’ technologies to their customers.

2010 has seen smartphone usage rise incredibly and I think that we are about to see the same for tablets over the next year. With such demand supporting these products, and customers embracing new technologies at the rate of knots, tablets are only going to get better and better.


Ben Dowd, O2 business sales director: Corporate firms are beginning to realise that they need to arm their people with devices that provide more than just email.We’ve seen a marked rise in the use of smartphones by businesses in the UK, with around 30% of companies providing employees with access to handsets offering the latest in mobile computing. This increases by up to 70% in the financial sector, and among traders in particular, due to a flood of new applications now available to them.

Typically, over a third of traditional officebased tasks now take place outside of the workplace. This makes smartphones that offer rapid access to emails and the web, from anywhere, fundamental to truly flexible working.

Our customers are motivated by ease, decreasing costs and the exceptional power we’re seeing in handsets. Developments in web browsers have also meant that smartphones now support richer formats, allowing large firms to build powerful web systems that integrate voice and data.

Efficiency is key and choosing the right smartphone can make all the difference between staff being productive on the road, and being ineffective away from the office.

Ben Dowd
Ben Dowd

Google recently reported a surge in Android users, with 100,000 new customers per day in June, up from 100,000 in May this year. The platform has undoubtedly become a must-have consumer device, but Android has taken longer to become accepted by businesses. Google has only recently started to support corporate email, and while Apple closely controls iPhone software ensuring stability, the flexibility Android allows phone makers and users doesn’t always appeal to security-conscious businesses.

However, with the right security measures and user guidelines in place, Android does offer advantages for business customers. There is a huge range of devices for employees who might prefer a keyboard, or a larger device. The Dell Streak hits the sweet spot between traditional smartphones and larger-screen tablets, and while it’s currently only available to consumers on O2, we expect to see a significant demand from our corporate customers.

As smartphones continue to inherit tasks that were once only intended for laptops of desktop computers, Android devices also allow firms to load their own inhouse applications. Android undoubtedly has an important part to play in shaping the future of mobile computing for businesses, but so too will iPhones and BlackBerry devices. Whatever smartphone device is ultimately chosen, firms should work closely with mobile operators to ensure they are set up to achieve the very best results, and make sure usage throughout an organisation is as efficient as it should be.

IDC believes Android will become the second biggest smartphone operating system in Western Europe by as early as the first quarter of 2011. While research firm Rodman & Renshaw warned that by the end of 2011, despite Apple’s current success in smartphones, it will enter a very different competitive landscape thanks to the proliferation of Android, which will have a negative impact on the company’s marketshare and margins for 2012. What do you think Android has to offer the channel, in terms of innovation, easy to use handsets, standardised experiences, and flexibility, or a lack of any of these points and more? Do you see Android being the operating system of the future, or will we continue to see a fractured OS landscape? Does Android have much to offer the business world, and if so, what, or is it primarily a consumer platform in your view?

Jon French, HTC executive director UK, Ireland and South Africa: HTC has been a long time believer in Android and we continue to see great things in its future. We helped to launch the OS with the debut Android handset, the TMobile G1, in 2008, and have worked hard with our partners to innovate on the platform ever since.

The power of Android lies in its customisable nature. Right from the start, it was exciting to see how you could mould the content around your own needs. Customers have reacted incredibly positively; they love the choice and ability to create their own tailored experience. This also mirrors our own philosophy which puts the customer at the centre of everything we do, so we had a great natural fit with Android.

Android is one of the fastest growing platforms in the smartphone market. As more personal smartphones connect to the business network for organisations of all shapes and sizes, the business market is expected to be a key growth area for Android. HTC Android handsets also offer a lot to the business world, with deep Microsoft Exchange support; calendar reminders for example, among other features. Your Android phone can now be used as a WiFi hotspot, giving you additional connectivity options when you’re out at meetings or travelling.

Jon French
John French

Kemp, Data Select: Apple has a unique product which combines hardware, software and a brand that is as cool to technology geeks as it is to fashion victims. Once Apple has a customer they keep hold of them. The rise of Android will be considered and addressed by Apple, in order to keep its own customers happy they have a premium product and experience. A mobile is an emotional purchase, and that’s where Apple has the edge; Androids don’t have emotions!

Android’s strength will be the standardisation across a number of manufacturers. The more complex mobiles get, the more difficult it is to pick up a new handset. That will be a massive advantage for Android. Imagine every car you got in had the pedals and gear stick in a different place; what a nightmare! Then Ford, Renault, VW and Audi all decide to standardise the control layout; what a bonus for both the consumer and the manufacturer.

The OS landscape will remain fractured for a number of years to come, as can you see Apple, RIM, or Windows capitulating? However, do you see Symbian and Bada surviving? Logically, if you look at the resources and risks involved, in five years time the smart device market should be controlled by Microsoft, Apple and Google.

With regard to the future, of course Android has much to offer the business world. Once it has the right email clients and security, its job done. The Android Market already has great business apps and these will only become more prolific. The price points of the hardware and the choice across manufacturers will all benefit business in making decisions.

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