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John Hill

  1. Tablet price creep

    I'm working on a presentation about new mobile technology for a local organization. As I was updating my Powerpoint to include new Tablets like the HP Slate 500, I came to the realization that the popular media analysis of low-cost tablets sounding the death of traditional Tablet PCs is just wrong. Of course technology is getting cheaper, smaller, faster and better - that has been the case for a long time. But the $500 tablet costs that little because it actually does less and has more limited capabilities than a traditional tablet. Let me give you an example of how I see it.

    The traditional "new tablet" benchmark is, of course, the Apple iPad. The basic model is $499. You get a lot, but what you don't get is an operating system that runs all your existing applications, a large hard drive (the base unit is 16Gb), a USB port or a removable battery. Next on the Path of Increasing Price is the CTL 2go Pad. Now, we have a Windows Tablet but still just an Atom processor. It has a larger hard drive but no active digitizer and no rear facing camera. It costs $549 with Home Premium and $604 with Windows 7 Professional.

    Next on the Yellow Brick Road of Tablets is the HP Slate 500, the most powerful yet, but also now priced at $799. It has a more powerful Atom processor (no Core 2 Duo or Core i5/7), comes with a pen and has a rear facing camera, comes with Windows Professional 32-bit and a standard 64Gb SSD. Very nice specs but as you can see, the price increases with that.

    These prices are still below what manufacturers like Lenovo and Motion Computing charge for their full-featured Tablet PCs, but they also offer additional capabilities like larger, active digitizer displays, outdoor viewability, larger hard drive and SSDs, more memory and other features.

    As always, look at your applications and let them dictate the correct device on which to run them. Just don't be lulled into believing that sub-$1,000 tablets are the answer to all your dreams because they will provide only satisfy some of them.
  2. Windows vs. Apple: Will the real Tablet Computer please stand up?

    I have written before to try and answer the question, what is a Tablet Computer? As we have seen from the many new models coming out from a variety of manufacturers and running several different operating systems, the answer is not clear cut.

    In the enterprise space (Fortune 500, hospitals, government) though, the answer has always been clear: Microsoft Windows rules. Apple has always been the "consumer" computer for students, graphics artists and hippies. Windows, on the other hand, has been the Double Windsor of the corporate world, not always having the latest features and certainly not as easy to use, but giving large organizations the business tools they needed to run a stable network. The internet may be the end of that.

    For those of us who have been in the technology business for a while, the adage is "what is old is new again". In this case, what is new again is distributed or cloud computing. In the past, the "cloud" was a mainframe server that delivered applications to "green screen" terminals. Nothing was local, instead controlled by the IT (then DP or data processing) department in an air-conditioned room in the basement. Now, the application is delivered over the internet to any device running any operating system. So if you are using a Windows tablet or an Apple iPad, the application looks the same and the only defining factor is the look and feel of your device. Believe me when I say that corporate America likes the look and feel of the Apple iPad.

    If you are a doctor looking up lab values or an executive searching for sales figures, you want to access that information on a device that is lightweight, readable and easy to use. The device and operating system that makes life simpler for those folks is going to be the winner in the mobile device battle that is brewing in the business world.

    (Photo is linked from the Gadgetell website)
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