But the Fujitsu is not the only corporate-focused tablet on the market. When the Apple iPad 2 arrives today, it will face a world in which a number of other companies are meeting enterprise needs better than Apple has, or is likely to. While it's true that many of those enterprise requirements can be met by perusing Apple's App Store, not everything found there can meet enterprise security or compliance requirements. Plus, there are a number of functions that Apple doesn't offer but others do. This means that when employees want a tablet, they have choices that will work for the corporation without using a crowbar to cram it into place.
Moving beyond the security features of the Fujitsu Q550, there are other tablets aimed at the corporate world. For example, Asus is offering a 12-inch tablet that's slim, sleek and no heavier than the iPad. But this tablet runs Windows 7 Professional and it does it so seamlessly that there's no indication that it wasn't designed for a tablet in the first place. This Eee Slate EP121 also features multiple means of use, including a traditional touchscreen, an optional keyboard, and a Wacom digitizer pen and compatible screen for accuracy and precision far beyond what any touchscreen interface can provide.
In fact, a surprising number of large tablet devices powered by Windows 7 are appearing at CeBIT. These devices are aimed at corporate buyers for a couple of simple reasons. The first is that these tablets have enough memory to support nearly any Windows application. This means, for example, that you can use your Bluetooth keyboard with Microsoft Word on your tablet-something the iPad simply can't do. The results of these corporate-oriented tablets can ultimately improve ROI simply by reducing the training time required for employees and by being able to use your site license for major productivity software.
Because these new tablets have the same general capabilities that the iPad has in terms of playing music, watching videos and hosting e-readers, nobody will be giving up a lot.
So when Apple releases the new iPad, it will find that it has stiff competition in the enterprise. For many managers, it will mean that it's finally possible to use a tablet. For others, it will mean that they can now use their tablet for work that, in the past, couldn't be done there. While the existence of these enterprise-ready tablets won't have much effect on Apple's bottom line, they'll make a big difference to the companies that take compliance, security and functionality seriously. Apple may have started the tablet trend, but for the enterprise, some of the 39 tablet makers here at CeBIT may be providing a better solution.