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Pads and Tabs


The new market hype seems to be tabs and tabs, or tablets if you like. But for some mysterious reason it seems to me like the different devices are evaluated based on complete different perspectives and in most cases the wrong ones.

Because of this I want to tell you my story and what I concluded on.

Requirements

First of all lets take a look at what I need and how I would like to use my device. In general I want a business tool which is easier to use and take along compared to the traditional laptop, which means support for features and functionality like:

  • I want to have an intelligent synchronized copy of documents I need to take with me. Manual copy is not an option.
  • I want to comment on documents I read or review directly in the document in a reasonably easy fashion.
  • I want to connect to my corporate network to interact and collaborate with people I work with and use web based application and services in an adequate secure fashion.
  • I want to surf the web and use intelligent and advanced features such as Silverlight, Flash and Java based applications.
  • I want to take notes when I’m in a meeting or get one of my fantastic ideas, but I don’t need to be able to write huge documents and reports.
  • I want to use e-mail and IM from my corporate network in an easy and efficient manor. Maybe even communicate with my personal contacts through public IM and social services.
  • I want a small and handy device which is quick and responsive and has enough power to last an entire workday without recharging.
  • I want to be able to use my device as a media player and be able to watch streaming video from my partners, TV and corporate internal streams.
  • I want my device to be online 24×7 without much interaction from me. Support for wireless LAN and high speed mobile internet access is a minimum requirement.

Research & Review

Based on the requirements I’ve done lots of research and tried out different devices. In general it seems like all the major vendors are focused on creating the most hip device and not the most useful device. I’ve checked out Apples iPad, the Samsung Galaxy tab (which use Android as OS), Amazon’s e-book reader and HPs brand new tablet PC running Windows 7.

The Amazon Kindle is more or less a pure e-book reader and is very good at that, but you can’t use it for anything else. Therefore it excluded it self. The next generation Kindle will be based on Android and have more or less the same features as any other Android based device.

The iPad and Android based devices are neat, but don’t have the business features I would expect from a device like this. None of them are very good as an input device. Apple states that hand writing recognition is something they will never support, and a stylus will never be included with the iPad. Android will on the other hand support hand writing in the next major release of the OS, but they can’t or won’t say when the next release will be available. Since Microsoft have had this since the first Windows tablet edition, they are miles ahead compared to the other two.

As a media device and surf-board all devices are fairly good. There are some limitation, but most web based applications work fine. Well, except for Silverlight apps, which only Windows 7 supports. Since the Windows based tablets are the only “fully qualified” PCs, it’s possible to install any browser, add-on or application you want to use.

Synchronization is yet another feature only Windows based devices support. With both iPads and Android based devices you will have to manually copy content, either from an offline media or from the corporate or open network. Since Apple has decided not to support standard I/O interfaces such as USB and different Flash memory cards, it may be quite complicated to add content to the iPad. However, Apple states that the iPad 2.0 will support standard interfaces.

Centralized management of things like apps deployment, antivirus, security, backup, inventory and so forth is probably something your IT staff and security officer will require if you want to use your device with business content and as a business tool. The ability to remote wipe the device in case you loose it is probably an absolute requirement for a business with some security restrictions. Apple will support some kind of centralized management in their next major release but Android has not stated anything with regards to future support for centralized management. Since a Windows based tablet PC is just like any other Windows based computer, it’s possible to use any mobile device management software to administer and control the device.

Conclusion

All in all, the only device which is even close to meet my requirements is a Windows 7 based tablet PC. Yes, it’s slower, heavier and doesn’t have the best battery capacity, but I can use it as the tool I need. I can even leave my laptop at my desk when I go to meetings.

If you are looking for a “surf-board” kind of device and only want to surf the web and READ documents, choose the iPad or an Android based device. But if you’re looking for a useful tool and not just a hipped up gadget, you have to choose a Windows based device. At least for now.

Until “the rest of the world” realize the importance of synchronized content, integrated services and centralized management it seems to me like Microsoft don’t have any actual competition, at least not in the business market.

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  1. November 23, 2010 at 03:32

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    • November 23, 2010 at 12:00

      Thank you for your feedback. It’s appreciated!

      BTW – The theme is a standard WordPress theme called “INove”. Free to use 🙂

      Like

  2. November 24, 2010 at 06:26

    how are you I was luck to approach your topic in bing
    your subject is fine
    I learn a lot in your theme really thanks very much
    btw the theme of you site is really marvelous
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    Like

  3. Jim Shank
    October 13, 2011 at 15:38

    This post is essentially the best thing I have read in a long, long time, especially the part about all major vendors wanting to out-do the others in creating the most hip device, not the most useful device. Apparently, you and I do not subscribe to the theory, “If it’s popular it must be good.” It brings to mind the old cliche, “If it’s in the newspaper or on TV, it must be true.”

    Thanks!

    Like

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