Which Tablet to BuyBy Jennifer Lawinski Print
Tablets will remake enterprise computing. Is your business ready to deploy, support, and profit from the next wave of personal technology?
Which Tablet to Buy
Don't miss our slideshow on choosing the right tablet.
As the tablet market expands in the next few years, there’s no telling who will wind up on top.
“I think that in a year and a half to two years, it could be anybody,” says Paul Moore, Senior Director of Mobile Product Development at Fujitsu America. “It could be the Motorola Xoom. It could be Samsung. It could be Windows-based. It could be Android-based… it could be any one of those, but if you look at the environments today – what are most enterprises running on? The answer is Windows.
“Based on what I’ve heard from our customers, there is a preference to stay with Windows for the time being because they believe it is an easier deployment, because you have the security, the usability, the standard deployment,” Moore says. “The average enterprise has to worry about compatibility with Citrix. They have to worry about enterprise security and pushing drivers and so on and so forth.”
And more pedestrian complications could arise.
Some applications will require users to take notes on an image or to collect signatures, things users would need a pen or stylus to do, he says. Some tablets will have restricted viewing angles or be difficult to use in bright sunlight. Tablets also do not incorporate biometrics security and many need to be recharged and may not last as long as a typical shift for workers in the field.
“If they have the screen cranked up all the way, brightness-wise, and they have the wireless turned on but the signal is weak… it’s going to drain the battery,” he says. “If I have an eight hour shift and get battery drained at six and a half… what am I going to do?”
But the many pros, including instant-on functionality, easy-to-use interfaces, the variety of applications and portability, mean tablets will find their place.
“Notebooks are cludgy. You’re still dealing with the heavy, complex windows interface. These things are lighter, easier to use and the instant on is huge,” Fiering says. “They’re not notebook replacements. They are something else.”
When it comes to particular vendors, Fiering says each have their strengths and weaknesses.
For Samsung, which launched the Galaxy Tab running on Google’s Android 2.2 operating system last fall, good design is ones of its assets. “But what do they know about software? What do they know about enterprise security?” she asks.
The Cisco Cius a unified communications device with a tablet interface, so it’s more limited than other Androids or an iOS tablet. And while Cisco understands enterprise security, it hasn’t shown itself to be a master of tablet marketing or to have a stronghold in the apps market, she says. “If you’re looking to deploy tablets as a major marketing push, are you going to get the support from Cisco to meet your needs? Maybe.”
HP is a strong market contender with its TouchPad WebOS tablets and the company’s ability to handle enterprise security.
Motorola’s Xoom is “a pretty cool device,” Fiering says. “But let’s look at who’s delivering this. This is not the enterprise solutions folks. This is the handsets group – the consumer group.” The company split its enterprise and consumer divisions at the beginning of this year.
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