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  • 13 January 2004 12:15

Only 45% of Users Will Primarily Use Traditional Desktops by 2006, Says META Group

Only 45% of Users Will Primarily Use Traditional Desktops by 2006, Says META Group One-Third of All Corporate Notebooks Will Include Tablet Capabilities by 2006

SYDNEY, Australia. (January 13, 2004) — By 2006, only 45% of corporate users will count a traditional desktop as their primary information device, according to META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: METG). Another 40% will primarily use a notebook or tablet PC, with the final 15% focusing on thin-client or other information appliances (e.g., custom device, handheld). A key factor is the increasing percentage of users who will be equipped with multiple devices over and above the current combination of a PC and a personal information/communication device (e.g., handheld, cell phone). “By 2007, the average user will interact regularly with at least four distinct computing devices — a personal home PC, smart digital entertainment system, corporate computer, and mobile information device,” said Steve Kleynhans, vice president with META Group’s Technology Research Services. “This multiplicity of devices will force software vendors to focus on information synchronisation as well as ‘thinning’ or ‘roaming’ applications to enable users to access their information independent of the device they are using.”

Device selection needs to be matched to user job requirements, including information access and mobile needs to ensure that full value is obtained from end-user platform investments. Corporate IT planners must be aware of the alternatives coming into the market for servicing end users and make selections appropriate to the needs of the user base. This will require increased due diligence to gain an appropriate understanding and develop new technical skills. New device options will not only help IT organisations further trim operations costs, but also provide additional value in the form of improved information productivity. Although light and convenient, current-state tablet PCs (without an integrated keyboard) are not functional enough for most office users as their only computing device. Improved form factors, coupled with declines in the cost of digitizers and a growing number of digital ink- and pen-enabled applications, will bring the tablet to the mainstream by 2006 — one-third of all corporate notebooks will include tablet capabilities. Closely related to the tablet PC are smart display devices, which enable users to wirelessly access their PCs using WinXP’s remote desktop facility. Although Microsoft has discontinued further development on the current consumer-focused smart displays, we expect that the technology could reappear in the corporate environment. “There is an opportunity in the corporate space, where 60% of information workers are ‘corridor warriors’ that roam from meeting to meeting, to provide users with access to basic information (e.g., e-mail, instant messaging, Web browsing) and note-taking capabilities while attending meetings on premises,” said Kleynhans. “The devices could even be shared among users or possibly kept in meeting rooms. Any costs should be outweighed by the increase in meeting productivity for most knowledge workers.” Blade computers initially emerged as a way to make compact scalable servers by combining numerous low-cost self-contained PCs within a single chassis. This enabled the systems to share infrastructure such as power supplies, network and storage interconnects, and consoles. PC manufacturers have now begun to move these systems beyond the server and into the end-user tier by assigning individual blades to users who access the blade using a thin-client device. Most of the administrative benefit and potential cost savings of blades come from designing a truly roaming environment. However, the effort involved and the backlash from users unwilling to succumb to a locked-down PC environment are substantial, making this option appropriate only for some groups. “Blades will likely be used to augment traditional computing platforms as a means of delivering specific applications that may require alternative OSs (e.g., Linux) or dedicated processing power (e.g., real-time processing),” said Kleynhans. “Blades will become a commonplace solution implemented primarily in the same places that Citrix/Windows Terminal Server (WTS) solutions are currently applied. Blades will remain a niche product — by 2006, blades will replace traditional PC form factors for roughly only 10% of users.” About META Group META Group is a leading provider of information technology research, advisory services, and strategic consulting. Delivering objective and actionable guidance, META Group’s experienced analysts and consultants are trusted advisors to IT and business executives around the world. Our unique collaborative models and dedicated customer service help clients be more efficient, effective, and timely in their use of IT to achieve their business goals. Visit for more details on our high-value approach.

EDITORIAL CONTACTS:- Kirsten Davey Markom Marketing +61-2-9977-8922

Peter Carr, General Manager META Group +61-2-9290-8659

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