PCs, tablets aren't being used the way you might think
By Frank Hayes
A Forrester Research report out this week made headlines because it calculated that 200 million information workers want a tablet running Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows. But something much more useful is buried in the study, reports Matt Rosoff at CITEworld: a table comparing how workers actually use PCs, tablets and smartphones.
"The top work app on all three devices was email. After that, it split in an interesting fashion," Rosoff says. "Word processing was the second most used app on a PC, used by 80 percent of workers. It was number three for tablets, down at 40 percent. But on smartphones, word processing was way down the list, behind social networking, expense-reporting apps, and HR apps, and in the same neighborhood as data dashboards, finance apps, and travel apps."
Conclusion: Smartphones are best suited to quick lookup and data entry, while tablets are more like PCs. If workers want to use tablets like they use PCs, the association with Windows and Microsoft Office seems logical. That's also why Microsoft may never release a full version of Office for the iPad, Rosoff says.
But the table is worth a careful look on its own for insight on where to invest in devices for workers--or even by CIOs who just want a clearer grasp of how desktop PCs are being used today. For example, Enterprise Resource Planning software is the least-used application on PCs in Forrester's list, and its use on PCs also trails its use on both phones and tablets. Data dashboards also get almost twice as much use on mobile devices than on PCs.