Mobility is a key objective for many organizations that are seeking new ways to maximize competitive advantages like efficiency and responsiveness. While this is not a new objective, it may feel as though it is with IT solutions constantly changing and evolving.
Not long ago we saw hand-written day planner’s move to a PDA (personal digital assistant) to store basic contact information, notes, and a schedule of activities, often with limited or no wireless capability. Shortly after, cell phones began to take on some of these roles and provided more enhanced functionalities. Then along came the smart phone and tablet devices, with PC functionality and wireless options from 802.11b/g to 4G to deliver seemingly endless options for mobility and business productivity.
The focus of this article is how a mobile user operates when they are away from the office, whether it be at Starbucks down the road, from home, or from anywhere in the world. With the increasing popularity of tablet devices we’ll compare and contrast the Apple iPad and the Hewlett Packard (HP) Slate.
For the last year or so, Apple’s i-series products have been the most popular choices for consumers and some business workplaces. From the iPhone to the iPad, and MacBook Pros to the MacBook Air, the Apple OS can now connect with Windows Active Directory. With more Windows applications beginning to be more prevalent for Macs, we begin to see endless possibilities for business productivity, especially where virtualization comes into play. So now that end users can pick any of the devices they really desire, which one is the right decision?
Well, sorry, there’s no right or wrong answer here, just some things to consider when choosing a mobile tablet device.
The iPad, built on the success and popularity of the iPhone and iPod, is the long standing favorite for many. The battery life for the iPad is plenty for a full day of work, or entertainment, and its light weight makes it extremely portable. And for almost any situation, you can pop into the AppStore and locate an application to fulfill your needs from $0.99 here, $4.99 there, even $89.99 and up if you need a specialized application, making the expense of the iPad always on the rise. The bottom line is that it has been the only viable option for the last 18-24 month; however, this is changing with new options from Motorola, Samsung, and Hewlett Packard just to name a few.
Similar to the iPad you can now get Android-based tablet devices. The Android OS is built and maintained by Google and offers similar functionality to the iPhone whereby you visit an “App Store” or download “apps” to the device to run the programs.
Now for the “but” …
I’ve always learned in business that one of the key areas to promote efficiency, and therefore bottom line profit, is to create repeatable processes with predictable results. In addition, the more these processes can be simplified, the less chance there is for downtime or inefficiencies.
With that said, I’d like to discuss the HP Slate 500. This is HP’s latest contribution to the tablet market, and from the perspective of an IT guy supporting business users around the world on any given day, the Slate 500 changes the game in a good way for mobility.
The HP Slate 500 is an 8.9” display with an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD (solid state drive), front and rear cameras, a USB 2.0 port, an SD card slot, microphone and speakers. That all sounds pretty similar to the other devices right? Well, here’s the kicker… it’s running Windows 7 Professional.
By running the same Windows operating system that users are already familiar with, there’s no need to go find the “app” that provides similar functionality or allows you to complete a similar process. This runs the same applications as your desktop in the same manner.
Here’s the point to that last statement. With the iPad or Android devices there is connectivity, portability, and the ultimate in mobility, but the challenge is that they employee a different operating system, different applications, and ultimately a different process to achieve the desired results. Remember the business rule discussed earlier – repeatable processes with predictable results? What better way to embrace this idea than with a familiar operating system, running the same desktop applications required in business, with the same interface and end user experience, touch screen functionality, and portability as other tablets.
The Slate 500 includes various buttons around the edge of the device which automate common keys like Ctrl-Alt-Del, or Show Desktop, as well as “keyboard pop”, and volume controls. The Slate 500 also includes a Digitizer pen that can be used as your pointing, handwriting, or drawing device.
Recently the technical team of Axxys Technologies deployed Slate 500’s into a medical practice in North Texas (Primary Medicine of North Texas). Dr. Hernandez and his staff had tried working with the iPad but found that the user interface was just different enough to slow down the delivery of services to patients which was a major determining factor for change. For the past several years, Dr. Hernandez and the medical staff have carried less desirable tablets with short battery life and bulky weight.
With the new Slate 500 the medical team has access to the same applications, with the same PC interface that they have been used to in a small, lightweight (1.5 lbs.) format with a battery life of over 5 hours. Add in the dock that comes with it and it can connect to an external keyboard, HDMI monitor/projector, and mouse in the office and this one device now replaces a desktop computer, laptop, and the previously used mobile device used to meet the various computing environments (office, home, travel). One device that meets the needs of all of the various scenarios in one convenient package, it’s a simple choice.
Dr. Hernandez said “The size and portability is superb, and the flexibility of the digitizer, on-screen keyboard, and touch screen make it easy to use. The speed is great and the screen size is perfect. The fact that you can touch screen navigate makes it a great tool and I give it 4.8 out of 5 stars. Compared to the iPad I was using, it is much faster and lighter.”
If you’d like to experience the HP Slate 500 and see how it can simply your business processes in a small, lightweight, easy to use format please contact Axxys Technologies today. Axxys Technologies is an authorized Hewlett Packard Elite Partner. Contact us today at (214) 297-2100, or visit us at axxys.wpengine.com.