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Forrester Survey: Workers Want Tablets with Keyboards
Forrester Survey: Workers Want Tablets with Keyboards

By Barry Levine
August 19, 2013 1:01PM

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The only thing surprising about the Forrester finding that 62 percent of knowledge workers want keyboards with their tablets is that the percentage is not higher. That's because knowledge workers need to have keyboards, said Laura Didio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp.
 



Are tablets good as is for work? A new study from Forester Research has found that 62 percent of knowledge workers in North America and Europe want keyboards with their tablets.

The report queried 1,070 information workers, and 35 percent said they would prefer tablets that can be converted into small laptops -- the IdeaPad Yoga line from Lenovo is one example of a convertible tablet. Another 27 percent would prefer tablets with wireless keyboards.

Only 34 percent would prefer using tablets sans keyboards, as long as they could use regular computers if they needed to do a lot of typing. Four percent were unsure or had no preference. The report also looked at how people are using tablets for work. Slightly more than a third of respondents said that they are using laptops less because of tablets.

Use Touchscreen in Laptop Mode?

The report's findings could raise questions about any effort by Microsoft or others to sell tablets into the business market that did not include the easy availability of keyboards, such as in their covers or as wireless peripherals.

Forrester's findings would seem to validate the use of the cover of Microsoft's Surface Pro that doubles as a keyboard, as well as the similar use of covers for other tablets. This setup is essentially a component-based laptop, with screen and keyboard and other accessories, such as a mouse that can be added as needed. Component laptop/tablets, as well as convertible laptop/tablets, clearly appeal to a large number of people who need to input numbers or letters.

But what the Forrester report does not validate is the idea that knowledge workers want to interact with touchscreens when they are in laptop mode. If a worker wants a keyboard but does not need a touchpad or mouse, then the touchscreen might serve as the cursor-moving interface. But the use of the touchscreen while in component-laptop or convertible-laptop mode remains unclear, and that question is key to Windows 8's success as a touch-oriented platform.

Baby with Bathwater

A previous Forrester study, released in February, found that 32 percent of those surveyed would prefer Windows as the operating system on their next tablets at work, more than those who wanted either Android or Apple's iOS. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the February study came out before Windows 8 did. In the most recent quarter, only 4 percent of all tablets shipped used the Windows 8 platform.

The 8.1 version of Windows will be launched in October, and expectations are that the company will make it easier for users to work entirely within the desktop interface if they so choose. Among other things, 8.1 will feature an option for users to boot directly into the desktop interface. This could support those users who want, on occasion, to turn their tablets into laptops.

Laura Didio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp., told NewsFactor that the "only thing surprising" about the 62 percent of knowledge workers who want keyboards with their tablets "is that it's not higher." That's because, she pointed out, "knowledge workers need to have a keyboard."

Didio said that, with its emphasis on touchscreens in Windows 8, Microsoft essentially "threw the baby out with the bathwater" because 8 did not build on the desktop interface that the company has spent decades developing and selling.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

ceh4702:

Posted: 2013-08-20 @ 1:40pm PT
So they want a desktop but they dont want a desktop?

tyelmene:

Posted: 2013-08-20 @ 8:51am PT
The author exibits a lack of understanding regarding what enterprise application can/should be - typical ms-minded response- and should be largely ignored. Android and iOS-based apps will make our jobs better for the next 2-3 years when more advanced ria-cloud based apps will emerge inheriting the benefits of the native moble apps (sans keyboard).



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