Businesses are quickly adding tablet computers to the list of indispensable gadgets. Lightweight, streamlined and chock full of functions that help during both business meetings and site visits, it’s easy to understand why. In fact, about 30 percent of new mobile device activations during the second quarter were tablets*, according to a report from Good Technology, a mobile device management and security company. Of those, 27.2 percent were either iPad or iPad2.

Clearly, Apple is by far the dominant player in business tablets, which Good attributes to overall market dominance, coupled with company “Bring Your Own Device” programs. But could rumors of a new Amazon tablet, reported in the Wall Street Journal last month, change the playing field for tablet adoption among business users?

The forthcoming Amazon tablet is rumored to run Android, like Motorola Xoom, which launched in early 2011 and was the most popular Android tablet in Good’s report. Sarah Rottman Epps, a Forrester analyst, told the Wall Street Journal that Amazon may be able to compete with Apple on price by taking a loss on tablet sales in anticipation of future sales from the company’s digital content store. TechCrunch disagrees, saying to beat Apple’s prices, the Amazon tablet would have to be a complete lemon or sold at an unreasonable loss.

But if, as TechCrunch predicts, Amazon sells its device with the Amazon store preloaded, it may make the Amazon tablet more compelling than other Android options. Amazon pre-loads its store to Kindle, so it’s not a stretch to assume it will do the same with its tablet, particularly since breaking the tablet price barrier would be subject to the promise of selling Amazon digital content through the new device.

An inexpensive, reliable Amazon tablet could persuade more businesses to adopt it as a standard issue device for mobile employees. Because Android is open source, it has long been lauded for how easily it can be manipulated to work with existing enterprise systems that employees need access to on-the-go. And if the tablet has easy access to digital content through the Amazon store, individuals may be more likely to buy Amazon’s tablet themselves, adding Android tablets to BYOD programs. Both scenarios could contribute to a flood of Android tablets entering the business environment.

The real test of whether companies will choose to abandon Apple for Android may come when Amazon’s tablet launches, rumored this fall. Based on your experience seeing tablets in action at work, which would you prefer: continued dominance of iPad at work or a shift to Android tablets, whether from Amazon or another provider?

  • Because RIM devices use BlackBerry® Enterprise Server, Good does not track activations of Blackberry handset devices.

Tags: , , , ,