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While devices like the iPad and eagerly-anticipated Samsung
Galaxy Tab tablet are taking the consumer market by storm, distributors say the
new technology has the potential to be the next big thing in business
computing. And resellers would be smart to start planning on how to incorporate
the devices into their solutions for SMBs, public sector and enterprise
customers alike.

 “We work very closely with all of our vendor
partners and we see many of them, if not all of them, coming to market by Q1 –
end of January or early February – with some type of slate-based device. We see
the platforms varying from Windows to Android. Of course there’s the Apple OS,”
said Greg Parsonson, VP of Client Systems at Tampa, Fla.-based distributor Tech
Data.  “We’re seeing everything across
the board here.”

The market, Parsonson
said, is exploding after the success of a singular product – the iPad, and that
as the devices move from consumer to business use, they’ll move from desktop
add-ons to stand-alone devices that users take with them wherever they go.
Vendors from Samsung to Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and Asus are all offering or
planning to offer tablets by mid-2011.

“I have seen
applications already that apply to both enterprise verticals and SMB. We’ve
seen them provide as part of SMB solutions – to school systems, individual
private schools … up to major enterprises. I think that the scope of these
devices and the slate family is really limitless in its application,” said
Parsonson. “The limit is the applications.”

Mike Erwin, Sr.
Director, Vendor Management, for Ingram Micro U.S. , Santa Clara, Calif., said
the distributor is seeing an increasing demand for tablets in the wake of the
iPad’s success.

“It’s an exciting
new form factor with great wireless capabilities and portability – all of which
makes it more functional and yet affordable,” he said. “The opportunity for the
VAR is to bring this technology in-house to the business world.  It’s a
sexy product that has a lot of potential in the business world – again especially
in vertical markets.”

Ingram Micro’s
tablet lineup includes products from Acer, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, Toshiba,
Samsung and Apple.