Hoping to capitalize on the craze created by the Apple iPad, a plethora of mobile-device makers and computer manufacturers are descending on the market in 2011 with tablet devices of their own. And the most-coveted market is the enterprise market, where the iPad continues to make significant inroads, and is poised to replace the laptop for some business functions.

But some companies are opting to replace all laptops with tablets, and Zenprise, a mobile device–management company headquartered in Fremont, Calif., believes that trend will accelerate.

“We have a prediction: that the tablet is going to replace the PC. The laptop is dead,” said Zenprise Chief Marketing Officer Ahmed Datu. “We start from that working assumption. All indications to me are that the user experience on tablets is much better. They are easier to use and quick to boot up. We see entire departments getting rid of laptops and replacing with tablets.”

At least one of Zenprise’s customers has opted to replace all of its laptops with tablets. Medical sales company Conceptus already has rolled out 250 iPads to its sales and service workers across the country. All 320 of its employees will receive an iPad by the end of the year.

Jeff Letasse, vice president of IT and business systems with Conceptus, said that the company’s return on investment (ROI) analysis was based on a simple premise: The company wanted to reduce hardware costs by about half.

But Conceptus is seeing intangible benefits as well from the move. For example, Letasse said that the iPad is making life easier for the company’s sales force. “It’s a natural way for a sales rep to interact with a doctor,” he said.

In the past, sales representatives took up valuable time with doctors booting up a laptop, finding the presentation and hooking it up to a projector. Now, in three seconds, a sales rep can instantly turn on the iPad and make a presentation in about two minutes.

As such, the company’s sales reps have had to change their thinking about sales when it comes to utilizing an iPad. Letasse said that they need to now view the iPad as a one-to-one sales tool rather than the presentation tool that their laptop offered.

Interestingly, the failure rate of iPad devices isn’t any greater than laptops, said Eric Simmons, director of IT operations and ERP solutions with Conceptus. He said the company loses approximately one iPad per quarter.

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