There's a revolution going on in the enterprise, driven - usually - by the Apple iPad. Tablets are becoming increasingly visible at work but are they business tools or toys? Can they bring benefits to the business or are they just a security hole? Before tablets, we saw laptops with rotating screens that could be converted into …
Tablet = Cheaper Portability
The initial experience I have seen on enterprise systems in a business environment (after the cool factor) was associate staff having access in remote office meetings to applications that would usually have kept them tethered to their desk without the expense of additional laptops. Granted the expense between a fully enabled iPad and a cheap laptop is not all that great. But a wi-fi enabled 32GB unit makes sense especially if the employee is using a personal device. And you can't beat the battery life factor. All the laptop guys have to plug-in as soon as they hit the table. The ipads just cruise along.
Laptops have 9h batteries and are cheaper
Clearly those business people are using the wrong laptops! The HP 210 Mini, for example, has a 8-9 hour battery life, can run a corporate Windows installation, has a proper keyboard and a slate size 10" screen. Best of all it costs just £200 (with Windows 7 and a Linix quickboot with web/email) and is far less cumbersome than a normal size laptop. No need to recharge at all during the day and I bet I can take notes or write emails a lot quicker during meetings than the ipad users.
Convertibles are good too such as the Acer 11" laptop that converts into a tablet with a twist and fold of the screen. The battery lasts for 8 hours, is more powerful than the HP 210 and ipad and costs about the same as an ipad.
Some of the Windows tablets (or slates) coming out now are no bigger than the Android ones. It's good to see Windows 7 running on such slim devices.
Of course a Windows device will run Flash which is important for some corporates who use Flash/Flex apps for business purposes, plus other proprietary software that corporates usually have on their desktops.
"The key is to decide if slates fit into your business strategy"...
Or as the management handbook dictates: Chapter #1 - Buy 10 for the top brass and figure the rest out later.
Followed by a short lead-in to Chapter #2: It's the IT department's problem.
Yet to encounter management types capable of applying some lateral thinking when it comes to new shiny toys. Until that changes it's buying into the happy landfill, because tablets are still relatively expensive compared to laptops.