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Top 4 Tech Trends for 2011

Tablets' Corporate Takeover

Handing out the iPad to employees -- JP Morgan's (JPM) doing it, SAP's (SAP) doing it, and so are a host of small businesses.

Apple itself says that more than 65% of the Fortune 100 has deployed or is testing its tablet technology.

"What has been interesting to me is how many business users have adopted the tablet," Eric Openshaw, vice-chairman and U.S. technology leader at Deloitte told TheStreet. "If you walk into a meeting with a laptop, it feels like an intrusion when you open the lid. But a lot of executives have figured out that with a tablet, you can have everything laid out in front of you in a non-intrusive way."

A recent study by enterprise mobility specialist Good Technology found that iPads are most widely deployed in the financial services, technology and healthcare sectors. Analyst Ted Schadler of Forrester is convinced that tablets will displace laptops and replace clipboards and paper in offices. A construction manager can now carry an iPad instead of a tube full of drawings, he noted. "It also applies to clinical testing in the pharma industry, facilities inspections by quality assurance pros, and insurance brokers writing business out in the field," said Schadler.

Forrester held more than 200 conversations with IT professionals about iPads and other tablets between January and October, according to Schadler, who noted "incredible" interest in the technology. "We talk to people every day who are deploying iPads in pilots or experiments," he said.

Unsurprisingly, Apple's App Store offers a slew of business apps for download, such as MyCRM for iPad, a customer relationship management program, and ebillbook, designed to help firms manage sales and customers.

And though Apple is the tablet market leader, it won't stand alone in the fight to win over business customers; both Cisco (CSCO - Get Report) and Research In Motion (RIMM) will launch enterprise-focused tabs early next year.

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