Choosing the Right Tablet for Your SMB

Paul Mah

Looking to keep up with the BYOD trend by deploying some tablets in your small or mid-sized business? With so many options on the market today, it can be difficult trying to decide what works best for your organization.

To help you along, I’ve highlight some of the pros and cons of the top tablet platforms below.


As the tablet that started everything, the iPad has the advantage of the largest collection of apps designed specifically for its 9.7-inch screen. Moreover, the smaller 7.9-inch iPad Mini runs apps designed for the iPad just as well. As one of the most popular tablets at the moment, there are also many accessories for the iPad and iPad Mini, ranging from cases, keyboards, docks and other peripherals.

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Android: More Vendors, More Flexible and Fun Devices

As with all things Apple, the iPad doesn’t offer much in terms of customization. Apps run in relative isolation, and its lack of a file system makes it a challenge to transfer files to a desktop or laptop without going through the cloud.


Available in a variety of screen sizes that include the Nexus 7 to the Galaxy Note 10.1, Android tablets offer the most variety in terms of form factor and technical specifications. This means that you are likely to find an Android tablet that meets your business requirement and budget. In addition, the Android operating system itself is highly customizable.

On the downside, the large permutations of Android hardware mean that apps not properly programmed for each of them may not perform as well.

Windows 8 Hybrid

A Windows 8 hybrid device is essentially a tablet that transforms into a laptop by physically affixing it to a keyboard base. This base generally comes with additional peripheral ports, and often also incorporates an external battery. The primary advantage of a Windows 8 hybrid is that it offers a “full” Windows experience in a tablet form, while also offering support for a keyboard.

The most popular size for a Windows 8 tablet at the moment is in the range of 10 to 11 inches. One unavoidable downside of a Windows 8 hybrid is the tradeoff between a relatively paltry Atom processor with good battery life, and a more powerful processor but unimpressive battery life.

Windows RT

Windows RT is Microsoft’s bid to compete on an equal footing with the many energy-efficient ARM-based devices such as the iPad and various Android tablets. To do that, Microsoft ported Windows 8 to the ARM architecture to take advantage of this.

Unfortunately, the switch to the ARM architecture broke all previous apps written for the Windows platform, given that they were all based on x86 architecture. A dearth of good software, high prices and user confusion mean that sales of Windows RT have been very poor--culminating in further developer disinterest in the RT platform. On the bright side, Microsoft has just cut the price of its Surface RT devices to $350, and the upcoming Windows 8.1 will also offer Outlook.

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