Wait a Little Longer for that Tablet

Wayne Rash
When I wrote a column last week about the difficulty of finding a tablet computer to fill a set of specific requirements, I was surprised by the response. The readers of that column, for the most part, agreed and one pointed out that the tablet market is still emerging technology. He had a point, and it's a point that needs to be taken into account when deciding whether to adopt tablets for your company, and if so, which tablet.

The problem is that there aren't any tablets out there that are really a complete solution. The dominant device, the Apple iPad, has no way to connect it to the outside world except through a proprietary USB connection and through wireless networking. There's no removable storage, for example, there are no standard USB connections and there's no HDMI port. The Android tablets have similar limitations in that they're missing one or more aspects of being truly useful. Some of them don't have access to the Android market, some don't have video ports, some don't have 3G or WiFi.

This really came to my attention when I started looking for a tablet for my son who had a specific set of requirements. We couldn't meet those requirements, so he decided to stick with his laptop for now, despite the extra weight when he traveled. When I looked for a device to take with me on a flight to Germany a few days ago, I ended up buying an iPad, despite the expense, because I could also use it as a platform for displaying Jeppesen aviation charts and for flight planning. It turns out that nearly all tablet apps for aviation run on the iPad.

But of course, the decision to adopt tablets into your company doesn't hinge on whether I can find the flight planning apps I want. That decision will be based on your specific needs. So rather than running to the store to buy what's cool or what's popular, remember how you performed a needs analysis for deciding which computer to buy.

Make a list of anticipated requirements. Will you need a camera? Do you need to be able to display video on an external screen? Are there apps for your industry that require a specific platform? Do you want easy management and integration? Chances are very good that if you look at the tablets that are available right now, you'd have to compromise on something.

But if you can put off your purchase for a few months, then there'll be a much better chance of finding what you need. The analysts I've talked to expect to see a flood of new tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Many of the tablets making their debut will show up on store shelves a few months after that. Meanwhile, Apple is widely expected to release a new iPad to compete with all of those tablets. By April or May, the pickings will be pretty good. If you can wait until then to adopt tablets for your company, you probably should.

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Dec 16, 2010 2:12 PM ?????? ??????? ?????? ???????  says:
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Dec 21, 2010 2:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
It's somewhat amusing to hear tablets described as an "emerging technology." I am by no means at the leading edge of technology, but I have been using a tablet daily for over 7 years. After my office was destroyed on 9/11, I took a largely paper-based legal practice and went paperless with small changes facilitated by my tablet (a Toshiba Portege 3505, recently upgraded to Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet). I have years of notes at my fingertips and can write into Word documents (which takes much less time than a legal blackline). Reply
Mar 9, 2011 9:03 AM ????????? ??????? ????????? ???????  says:

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