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Deloitte analysis of top technology trends for 2011

12 January 2011

  • Tablets at work: more than just a toy
  • End of an era: more than half of all computers aren’t computers anymore
  • Operating system diversity: no standard emerges on the smartphone or tablet

Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice will announce its 2011 global predictions for the technology sector next week (19th January 2011), forecasting in 2011 businesses will purchase more than 25 percent of all tablet computers.

Jolyon Barker, global lead for Deloitte's Technology, Media and Telecommunications Industry, comments: “This year’s predictions cover a range of topics, including the appetite of employers for tablets. We predict companies in the retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors will buy more than ten million tablets for their staff to take advantage of the ease of use and longer battery life of these devices.”

Peter O’Donoghue, head of Deloitte’s technology industry practice, adds: “In 2011, more than 50 percent of computing devices sold globally will be smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks. 2011 will mark the tipping point as the growth of applications for non-PC items outstrips traditional software sales and consumers embrace a wider variety of devices.”

Tablets at work: more than just a toy
Tablet computers have taken the consumer world by storm, but according to Deloitte more than a quarter of those sold in 2011 will be bought by businesses. This trend will be partly driven by the consumerisation of corporate technology, whereby people start to use personal devices for work functions.

By the end of 2011 a significant number of firms may be willing to pay for their employees tablets and data plans, millions of ‘prosumers’ will have their tablet data plans at least partially subsidised by their employers; and millions more tablets will be purchased by companies as PC alternatives. Enterprise software providers are rapidly responding to business customer requests for tablet specific software. Large players in ERP, ECM, CRM are combining with desktop virtualization providers to create secure enterprise-grade apps that can be rapidly and seamlessly deployed into businesses’ IT environments.

However this also presents a challenge for companies as the devices are not particularly robust and price could also be an issue in the current economic environment. The cost of developing bespoke applications, which ranges from $5,000 to $500,000, and securing the devices could also be a hurdle.

End of an era: more than half of all computers aren’t computers anymore
PC sales are set to hit 400 million in 2011, yet the combined sales of smartphones, tablets and non-PC netbooks that use different processing chips and operating systems to traditional computers will exceed that number for the first time. However the PC will not vanish with sales set to rise by 15 percent next year and non-PC devices will represent only 25 percent of computing devices.

Yet 2011 will mark the tipping point as the growth of applications for non-PC items outstrips traditional software sales and consumers embrace a wider variety of devices. This is partly due to choice. While the PC market is not quite as limited, it is still a narrow range that pales in comparison to the magnitude of different prices, performance features and form factors outside the traditional computing realm.

Operating system diversity: no standard emerges on the smartphone or tablet
Being the dominant operating system provider in the emerging non-PC market would be a tremendous prize for a company but no single player will become the de facto standard in 2011, as has happened in other computing markets in the past.

The top five developers of operating systems have billions in cash and are not ready or willing to abandon the market anytime soon and it seems that only a nearly irresistible force could produce a standard operating system. However this diversity leads to fragmentation and complexity at the hardware level which causes a headache for application developers, media companies and IT departments which all face higher costs when addressing or supporting different device types.

Note to editors
For a full copy of the report (launched on the 19th January) with all of the Deloitte predictions please email: Karen Hogger or Melissa Armstrong visit www.deloitte.com/predictions.

The 2011 series of Predictions has drawn on internal and external inputs from conversations with member firm clients, contributions from Deloitte member firms’ 7,000 partners and managers specialising in TMT, and discussions with industry analysts as well as interviews with leading executives from around the world.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities.Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

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