This years’ CES show in Las Vegas was a gold mine of information on what’s hot, what’s not, what’s heating up and what’s cooling down. It’s also a good opportunity to network, explore and spend hours looking at shiny tech! One of the main things we took away from the show was the soaring sales of tablets. We knew they were amazingly popular, with manufacturers struggling to keep up with demand, what we didn’t know is that they are fully expected to match smartphones for sales numbers in 2013. The Consumer Electronics Association said they fully expect sales of tablets to match the increase in the uptake of smartphones across the globe. In fact, they estimate that 40% of all IT spending will be on tablets. This is positive news indeed for an industry hampered by slow sales across the board. With companies stretching replacement cycles and putting off investment in IT as much as possible, any adoption of technology is going to be well received. Emerging markets are doing much of the work though, as they spend huge amounts of money outfitting new locations and updating to current technology. Mature markets such as the UK and Europe are still sluggish and are likely to be for the remainder of this year. The success of the tablet market took many by surprise. Smaller than a laptop, but with less power and slightly less utility, business has embraced portable computing better than we expected. Much of that has to do with competition from the likes of Google and Samsung, but there are new challengers coming out of China all the time. Tablet hardware is rapidly becoming cheaper and the apps available are becoming much higher quality and more abundant. As the hardware is catching on, more enterprises are finding them useful in different situations. Tablets are now regularly used as POS devices, portable incident tracking, service functions and mobile navigation, as well as email, spread sheet and eBook reading. As more and better quality apps appear, more uses for the tablet are discovered. The relative ease in which a business can build their own proprietary apps make them a truly personalised device that can address a very specific purpose. The ease at which these apps can be produced make them much more accessible than traditional programs, allowing newer and smaller businesses to make use of them. This alone is a significant driver in the rise and rise of the tablet. The barrier to entry is low, they are relatively cheap, light, portable and can perform multiple functions. That makes them a solid investment for cash-strapped companies trying to maximise their returns. With new players coming into the market with more innovative products, the tablet is only going to become more valuable to business.