New poll reveals consumers’ #1 reason for using iPad is for working on the go

    Too bad I can't connect to Salesforce. For now, I'll just have to race.
    Too bad I can't connect to Salesforce. For now, I'll just have to race.

    A new Sybase (NYSE: SY) study of over 2,000 US consumers on the topic of mobile device usage has found that the #1 reason U.S. consumers would use a tablet device such as the Apple iPad is for working on the go.

    When the email hit my inbox, it caught my attention. I think of the iPad as an entertainment device, primarily for consuming content such as movies, music, e-Books and Web sites. With a slim form factor (only 0.5-inch thick) and gorgeous (at least according to early reports) 10-inch display, iPad could be the ideal, go anywhere play thing.

    However, turns out consumers may expect a lot more than just fun and games from the new devices launching next week.

    From the summary: “The study from Sybase found that the idea of using an iPad or tablet device for work surprisingly garnered the most interest from smartphone users polled, while watching movies or television programs and playing games placed a close second and third respectively.”

    Call me slightly skeptical, however. Not that I doubt the accuracy of the survey, mind you, but I do, however, doubt—oh, just slightly—the accuracy of the claims of the respondents. Sure, they say, I’m going to use the iPad for work. Wink, wink. Perhaps they don’t realize it doesn’t have a keyboard (unless you buy a separate add-on)? If work means typing emails, writing documents, and creating presentations, then surely there are better alternatives. A laptop, perhaps? Then again, they’re just not as much fun.

    “Study findings reveal that consumers are increasingly demanding mobile devices that blend consumer and enterprise functionality, exposing an unexpected emphasis on the iPad’s suitability for work-related activities, and demonstrating the iPad’s potential value to information workers. Additionally, the study demonstrates that consumers want more access to information and work applications on their mobile devices, pointing to continuing challenges for businesses in enabling employees to effectively work on the go.”

    Ironically, although the consumers in this particular survey indicated working on the go was their #1 reason to use the iPad (or similar device), they have access to less than 10% of applications needed to do their job. And let me finish the thought: But they have access to 90% of the games, entertainment, and fun stuff!

    Sybase Study Reveals That U.S. Consumers’ #1 Reason for Using Apple iPad, Other Tablet Devices is for Working on the Go

    Findings Show Increasing Demand for Mobile Devices That Blend Individual and Enterprise Needs and Desire for Greater Access to Information and Work Applications

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — CTIA WIRELESS® 2010 —MARCH 23, 2010 — Sybase, Inc. (NYSE: SY), an industry leader in enterprise and mobile software, today announced the results of a survey on mobile device usage, finding that the #1 reason U.S. consumers would use a tablet device such as the Apple iPad is for working on the go.

    Study findings reveal that consumers are increasingly demanding mobile devices that blend consumer and enterprise functionality, exposing an unexpected emphasis on the iPad’s suitability for work-related activities, and demonstrating the iPad’s potential value to information workers.

    Additionally, the study demonstrates that consumers want more access to information and work applications on their mobile devices, pointing to continuing challenges for businesses in enabling employees to effectively work on the go.

    As new mobile devices come to market with increased functionality and battery life, the study shows that consumers are looking for devices they can use both at home and at work, with implications for the businesses being asked to support them.  Further, the findings show that while device functionality is important to satisfying people’s desire for a personal and work-ready mobile experience, that the experience is incomplete without greater access to data.  The results also emphasize the importance of enterprise mobility initiatives and the challenges that face operators and businesses alike in enabling a productive work experience on mobile devices.

    The Potential Impact of the iPad and the Changing Role of Mobile Phones
    The role of new tablet devices such as the iPad has been a subject of great debate recently, and while the study shows that entertainment activities such as watching video and playing games are some of the tasks for which consumers might choose an iPad over a smartphone, work-related activities unexpectedly ranked at the top:

    • With the imminent introduction of the Apple iPad, more than half of smartphone users polled claimed that they are most likely to use a new tablet device like theiPad to conduct work (52.3%).
    • Surprisingly, the idea of using an iPad or tablet device for work garnered the most interest from smartphone users, while watching movies and television programs, and playing games placed a close second and third respectively (48.2% and 35.4%).
    • Three-quarters of smartphone users surveyed believe that smartphones and forthcoming devices like the iPad make people more productive at work, with one-third of those feeling that the productivity impact is significant.

    Limited Access to Information
    Despite thousands of applications being made available from app stores today, consumers say they still have limited access to common enterprise applications they need for work:

    • Access to both personal and work information continues to be lacking for most consumers.  For respondents who have data on their mobile devices, the study shows that almost two-thirds estimate they have access to less than 10% of their personal data and work data (59.8% and 69.4% respectively). Access to work applications is also lacking, with almost three-quarters of respondents claiming they have access to less than 10% of the applications they need to do their jobs (72.3%).
    • 67.6% of respondents with smartphones felt that if they could access twice the amount of information and applications they do today, it would benefit their productivity.
    • When asked about what functions they wished their smartphones had, the ability to connect with work systems, and the ability to watch streaming television shows or movies topped users’ wish lists (27.1% and 27.2% respectively).

    For further details on the results of the survey, download the PDF.

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