When I go to conferences or meet with advisors lately, I notice more advisors toting tablets. But are they replacing their laptops?
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Though I’m seeing more advisors using tablets, I’m not hearing about advisors replacing their laptops with tablets, and I don’t think can.
What got me thinking about this is that yesterday I posted about a Nielsen study
that found 35% of tablet owners who also owned a desktop computer reported using their desktop less often or not at all, while 32% of those who also owned laptops said they used their laptop less often or never since acquiring a tablet.
Nielsen’s findings make it sound like tablets are replacing computers, but I am not so convinced. It’s hype.
While I believe advisors might be using their laptops and desktops less after buying a tablet, I do not believe many advisors are giving up using a desktop or laptop.
Most RIAs use desktop apps for portfolio reporting and CRM. While you could access those apps using your tablet, I doubt many advisors have made that adjustment. If you have, let me know.
Advisors who own tablets are undoubtedly using them to access email and the Web. That’s mostly what advisors are doing with tablets. It is an important distinction to understand in separating the hype from the truth.
My guess is that, if Nielsen surveyed people to ask if they use their computers less after buying a smartphone, the survey would get about the same results as asking people about the tablet’s impact on their desktop and laptop usage.
For advisors to access their practice management apps, the vast majority must use their laptop or desktop. Hence, I can’t imagine that too many advisors have made the leap to being all-tablet all-the-time. If you have, let me know.
For advisors to stop using their laptops and desktops, we’ll need to see many more advisors switching to Web-based practice management systems. And even if that happened tomorrow, most web-based advisor apps have not built tablet-friendly interfaces. While some advisors apps (Orion, Redtail, and Salesforce have released iPad apps), most have not done so and those that do have a tablet interface often have only limited access to full apps.
That will change in the next two or three years as advisors apps build HTML 5 interfaces, but most of the tech vendors serving advisors are not there yet.
Incidentally, I’m not a tablet owner yet. But I bought my daughter an iPad 2 last week and it really is hard to resist getting one for myself. My laptop is ultra portable, however, and I own an HTC Thunderbolt
Android phone with a 4.3” screen and 1GHz processor. So I’ll hold out till September or October when iPad 3 debuts and some other new models will be released.
Please let me know what you think.