Tablet PCs continue to make headway in distribution and with growing demand from corporate customers channel shipments are forecast to soar, according to analyst Context.
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Figures released today show that tablet units across Europe's leading economies grew 68.7% in the week before Christmas to account for 5.6% of all major broadliners' PC sales and 5.8% of PC revenues.
"From virtually nothing at the start of the year, tablet PC revenues are now an average of only 1.6 points behind server revenues," said Context joint CEO Jeremy Davies.
The picture was slightly different in the UK, as sales rocketed in 480% in the last week in November and the first in December but were essentially flat in the week before Christmas. The iPad accounted for nearly 70% of tablet shipments in the UK.
Consumers fuelled market growth but Davies expects business to "play a much larger role in the business space, anywhere that needs a mobile measuring device."
The potential for iPads to make inroads in the corporate market has not missed the attentions of Apple COO Tim Cook - currently acting as CEO while Steve Jobs takes medical leave - who saw deployments from Proctor and Gamble and Novartis.
"Enterprise CIOs are adding iPad to their approved device list at an impressive rate. Since the lanch of the iPad, over 65% of the Fortune 100 is already deploying or piloting iPad," he said on the Q4 fiscal 2010 conference call in October.
Mike Rodwell, commercial director at Computacenter, pointed to the proliferation of digital allowance in the workplace for employees to use the same technology at work and home as one of the drivers for tablets, specifically the iPad.
"We are seeing growing interest and proof of concept for the iPad, and it's a disruptive technology - it's totally new, is it a smart phone or a cut down notebook? It's both and neither," he said.