Does my business need a tablet?
The tablet computer has made enormous strides in the last few years. Thanks to popular tablets like the iPad, the thin, touch screen-operated computers have become the weapon of choice for many computer users as they offer a great experience when browsing the web or using one of thousands of specialised apps.
Tablets vary by their power and operating systems. Processors like the Intel® Atom™ provide considerable power for the current generation of tablets, and some tablets have dual core processors, including the Motorola Xoom and Asus Eee Transformer.
Tablet operating systems
Most tablets use a special operating system designed to make the most of a touch interface. This gives the tablet the cool interactive feel that makes them fun and useful. A good operating system is an important part of a great tablet computer.
Popular tablet operating systems include the Honeycomb version of Google Android, mobile versions of Windows 7 and XP, and Apple's iPad OS. All of these operating systems have distinct advantages and disadvantages and all feature proprietary app stores which expand the capabilities of tablets.
Apps include everything from games to specialised word processors and even instruments. Generally, apps make use of a tablet's touchscreen to deliver an experience that a user couldn't get from a typical computer. A touchscreen is a very intuitive control system, so tablet manufacturers try to deliver the most easily accessible operating systems and apps possible to make sure that tablets offer a different experience from what a user would get from a laptop or netbook.
Keyboards and docks
Nevertheless, there are quite a few situations in which a tablet can benefit from the addition of a keyboard or keyboard-equipped docking station. While it's possible to type on the face of a tablet, an attached keyboard can make this process much easier.
Tablets like the Asus Eee Transformer have optional docking stations with built-in keyboards which cost extra, but can basically turn a tablet into a full-featured netbook. Apple also sells an optional keyboard for use with its iPad.
Most of the current generation tablets also have forward and rear-facing cameras. These cameras are meant to make it easy to use video-conferencing apps and to take a quick high-res photo. It's another way that tablets differ from traditional computers. Since they're flat and portable, an included camera can be a great feature.
Newer tablets have serious power and numerous apps to take advantage of that power. They're an ideal way to browse the web, read an eBook, or to play games. Tablets are a casual type of computer, although they do have professional applications (especially for doctors and lawyers). They can be extremely engaging and useful, especially as prices drop below the $400 mark and the list of features provided by modern tablets continues to grow.
Five benefits of a tablet computer
- More portable and compact than laptops. You can even use it walking or standing up, and with wireless internet, you can check emails, browse the internet, or online shop wherever you are.
- Stay connected anywhere, any time. The ability to check and respond to emails wherever you are is a major benefit for a mobile business owner.
- Generally has greater battery life than laptops, depending on the type of apps used (graphic-intensive games, for example, sap energy faster).
- Stay on the cutting edge of software. With so many third-party apps coming onto the market, you can easily download and use right away.
- Easy reading and storage for thousands of e-books and PDFs.
An ideal user
The kind of user who would benefit from a tablet computer is:
- Very mobile and needs a portable computing solution for when on the road.
- Takes notes, rather than types.
- Uses social media extensively, either for business or personal use.
- Frequently uses business and personal apps.
- Consumes media of all kinds.
- Frequently presents information to clients and wants an easy and attractive way to do so.
Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Tuesday, October 11, 2011