Picking a tablet used to be much simpler than it is now. There was the iPad and maybe a couple others, but there really wasn’t much of a choice. Nevertheless, more and more tablets are hitting the market these days, and deciding which tablet is right for your business isn’t as easy. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a tablet for you and your business.
Which Operating System?
Not only are there a lot of different tablets out now, but the operating systems vary as well. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, and what works for one business might not work for another.
Apple uses iOS, which is the same operating system that iPhones use. Not only is this convenient for users who have become all too familiar with the Apple feel, but you also have the benefit of access to the hundreds-of-thousands of apps in the Apple store. With the iPad 3 set to be released later this year with iOS 5.1, the iPad is still the king of the tablet world.
Google’s operating system is Android and is completely cloud-based. Android is great for keeping mail, documents, calendar and other business essentials completely synchronized. Android apps have been known to be a little buggy, but those who switch over from other operating systems tend to like it.
RIM for a long time has been a favorite of many businesspeople with its Blackberry products, and that now includes its Blackberry Tablet OS. Just like the phones, the app store isn’t as great as the iOS or Android, but they’re consistently adding more and trying to make them better. Nevertheless, this operating system is great for multitasking in business use.
HP’s WebOS has been compared to the Blackberry OS. There are also others like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, but the general thought is to wait on that operating system until they improve it. As mentioned, there are advantages and disadvantages to every operating system, so figuring out which features you need and which ones you can live without is important when deciding which tablet is the right fit for your business.
Tablets tend to range anywhere from 7 inches to 10 inches. Most are at either end of the spectrum, although some fall somewhere right in the middle. The 7-inch tablets are almost like hybrids between a phone and a tablet in that they can be held with one hand. The only problem with the smaller tablets is that the apps can seemed cramped when compared to the 10-inch models. Then again, if you were used to using apps on a mobile phone than 7 inches would still be a decent improvement over the smaller phone screens.
Most tablets are pretty light, especially when compared to laptops. Obviously, the weight of tablets varies based on size and company, but for the most part they all weigh within 350g and 750g.
How Much Can I Afford?
Prices for tablets range from under $200 to about $800. You tend to get what you pay for in that the more expensive tablets have a lot more features. If you’re buying a number of tablets for your business then you would most likely want to keep the costs down by going with the least expensive models. On the other hand if you just need a few for specific departments or functions then it might be worth it to spring for the more expensive models (like the iPad or Motorola Xoom). Once again, figure how which features you want most out of a tablet and go from there.
Where and How Will It Be Used?
Figuring out how you plan to use your tablet(s) is vital. Make sure to keep in mind that most people have smartphones these days, so while some functions on a tablet are nice, they may be unnecessary because everyone carries the same ones around in their pockets. For instance, some tablets come with high-resolution cameras, but those planning on getting the iPhone 5 will reportedly have an 8-megapixel camera.
Other considerations include battery life, HDMI outputs, USB connectivity and WiFi vs. 3G. The great thing about having so many tablets to choose from is that you can mix and match features that you need to figure out which tablets are right for you.