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Apple iPad rivals face a tough battle for survival

New tablet computers face an uphill struggle as they attempt to wrest enterprise business away from the Apple iPad, according to analyst firm Forrester Research.Principal Forrester analyst Ted Schadler said in a blog post that tablets released in the shadow of the iPad have several barriers to overcome, despite many of them being well suited to enterprise use.

New tablet computers face an uphill struggle as they attempt to wrest enterprise business away from the Apple iPad, according to analyst firm Forrester Research.

Principal Forrester analyst Ted Schadler said in a blog post that tablets released in the shadow of the iPad have several barriers to overcome, despite many of them being well suited to enterprise use.

Schadler explained that competing tablets include features that should appeal to business users, such as Flash support, a notable omission on the iPad, enterprise application stores and software support, and enhanced security in the case of the forthcoming RIM BlackBerry Playbook.

However, the iPad has made an impact on enterprises despite its apparent lack of such features, and Schadler believes that this will continue into 2011.

Other tablets, which include the HP Slate and Cisco Cius, have only a “fair to partly cloudy” outlook, according to the analyst.

Schadler explained that, perhaps oddly, it is the enterprise sales channel that will hold back non-Apple adoption.

“In a world of smartphone and tablet consumerisation, where employees bring personal devices to work, the leading business tablets are being sold through the enterprise door,” he said.

This will slow down purchases as buying departments take the time to evaluate the alternatives, Schadler explained.

“In contrast, the iPad is available to consumers as well as directly to businesses. So IT can at least temporarily sidestep the issues of funding and data plan provisioning while developing a tablet strategy. It’s an easier business case to make in 2011,” he said.

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