2012 in Review: The year the Tablet Era kicked into Gear
By Jim Lundy
As we wrap-up 2012, it will be remembered as the year that the Tablet Computer went to work, in many places and in many occupations. Tablets are showing up in large numbers in K-12 schools, and at work: Pilots can now use them at Alaska and American Airlines. Also, for mobile Sales Executives, Tablets have quickly proven themselves as a workhorse.
As the fourth generation iPad, the iPad 4, continues to sell in volume, the accolades are starting to pile-up for the Microsoft Surface – their latest Tablet that is still in the hunt for apps to run on it. Google has jumped in too with upgrades to its Mobile Ecosystem and Google Play store – and lots of new Tablets have arrived from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Samsung and others.
There is still a debate about keyboards, and as such, a subtle dig is being uttered against the iPad is that it isn’t good for work, something I find humorous. iPads have been deployed in droves and have helped to drive new levels of sales productivity, something we wrote about at the beginning of the year. If there is any doubt about how Tablets are being used, watch the video of how a Salesforce Sales Executive uses an iPad (fast forward to the 7:39 time stamp).
Tablet – iPad 4 at Work
I’ve been a practitioner of Tablets at work and have used nearly every one of the four models of iPad that have been released. The iPad 2 was one of the best, at least until the iPad 4 came out in November. What is amazing about this model is its sheer speed. Business Users are still discovering new apps to help them be more productive.
When I go out to visit clients, all I take most of the time is an iPad. Most of the time, there are a few slides to show and I have them loaded up, ready to go. In many cases, I’ve stored them as a PDF, but Brainshark makes a very nice tool for displaying Powerpoint files called Slideshark. Evernote continues to do well and yes even the Apple App Notes is a popular choice. I also use Pages for creating documents.
As is often the case, I often have to join a meeting while on the road. I use numerous Web Conferencing tools on the iPad, including Adobe Connect, Cisco WebEx, Citrix Gotomeeting, FuzeBox’s FuzeMeeting and Saba Meeting. All of them have very good iPad clients and most of them are quick to update them to support the latest iOS release, such as iOS 6.
The iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7 Tablets
New form factors also became more popular in 2012. Apple and Google joined Amazon and Barnes and Noble with 7 inch Tablets. The Apple iPad Mini is proving to be very popular. We take this just as another indicator of the rise of Tablets in every facet of life. Tablet Computers are becoming more intertwined with humans both at work and at home. Expect to see even more form factors appear in 2013 and beyond.
I have used one of the first Motorola Tablets and yes I have experienced the common Android support forum recommendation – reset to factory settings. I will say that the Jelly Bean upgrade has been pretty good. The great news for Android Tablets is that Google has kept making its Google Play App Store better. The one concern I have for third party Tablet suppliers that use Google is how long it takes them to deliver the latest Google Android release (see related post on Mobile Upgrades).
Tablet Era is here
So we are officially in the Tablet Era (aka #tabletera). The things that will power it are all the apps here today and all the apps that will arrive in 2013 and beyond.
Editors Note: See our Special Report on Tablets in the Enterprise. We provide continuos coverage of Mobile and Mobile Ecosystems, which is what has been powering the growth of Tablets.