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Just a few days before the expected announcement of the Apple iPad
2, it seems the push for tablet use within the executive IT office is
snowballing. A survey released last week by Robert Half Technology
found that nearly half of CIOs believe their companies will increase
the use of tablets in the next two years.

Conducted by an independent research firm, the survey questioned
more than 1,400 CIOs from U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.
Among these, 49 percent said they plan on amping up tablet use in the
next 24 months, a trend that could put a strain on IT departments.

“With more companies moving to Internet-based file sharing and data
storage, along with an emphasis on portability and mobile productivity,
it’s no surprise CIOs anticipate wider use of tablet computers,” said
John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “The challenge
for IT departments will be providing adequate support and security.”

“An increase in tablet use will likely add to the roles of IT
professionals,” says Reed. “Businesses will need experts who not only
are knowledgeable about mobile applications and security, but also can
help the company make better strategic use of mobile devices to enhance
productivity and customer service.”

A recent report from ABI Research found that 4.5 million tablets,
ebook readers and netbooks  shipped during third quarter of 2010,
with Apple eating up 93 percent of market share within the niche. Since
the Apple iPad launched in April 2010, the company reports it has
shipped 15 million units of the tablet.

However, other reports say that iPad may have Android nipping at its
heels. Strategy Analytics recently reported that in the fourth quarter
Google Android-equipped tablets earned 22 percent of the market
compared to Apple iPad. One of the biggest competitors on the market
has been the Galaxy tablet from Samsung, which sold 2 million last
quarter according to Strategy Analytics.

While CIOs report that they’re going to increase tablet use in the
near future, some analysts believe that these devices must see prices
fall before they become a mass market product. A report out last week
from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said that the "sweet spot" for
pricing will be below $200. BCG found through surveys that even as the
awareness of US consumers about tablets rose from 54 percent in March
2010 to two-thirds of consumers in December 2010, there was not an
equal rise in desire to buy the tablets.