Do IT Staff Need Tablets?

Tablets are wildly popular, but do IT staffers really need one?

Tablets are wildly popular, but do IT staffers really need one? Tech reporter Sean Michael Kerner details the issues.

For some people, a tablet is simply a third screen that they will carry. That's a view shared by none other than Dell founder, Michael Dell. On a recent investor conference call, Dell was asked about his views on tablets. Dell responded that he sees it as a third screen (behind the notebook and the smartphone screen). As such, in his view, Dell wasn't going to be able to sell a lot of units as he doesn't see the tablet replacing the notebook or the smartphone.

Motorola Xoom tablet, small business tablet buyers guide
The Motorola Xoom tablet.
(Click for larger image)

On the other side of the tablet coin are vendors, like Cisco, that actually do see their devices as being notebook replacements. When a tablet is paired with keyboard, it sure does look like a notebook. Tablets however do not have the same storage or processing capacity as a notebook.

How do people use tablets today?

Earlier this year, a study from the Gartner research firm, found that tablets were used up to 12 times a day for an average of seven minutes per use. The Gartner study found that people were using tablets for almost everything they do with a notebook, though the heavy-duty and more detailed work was still being done on a notebook with a keyboard and mouse.

Does your business need a third screen?

When considering any technology purchase, it's essential to make sure that it answers a number of questions. Here are five questions to answer when thinking about whether a tablet is right for your business.

  1. Will the use of tablet improve the efficiency of your small business?
  2. Will the use of a tablet make (or save) your small business money?
  3. Do you find that your notebook PC is too slow to start when trying to show something to a customer (sales call or otherwise)?
  4. Do you find that your notebook PC is too bulky to bring along when traveling/visiting/demoing onsite or offsite?
  5. Do you use your smartphone for email more than your notebook and wish you could actually see websites and work on applications with the same ease of use?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then considering a tablet might make sense.

Read the rest about deciding on tablets at Small Business Computing.

Tags: mobile, tablet PC, tablets

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