With the advancements in computer technology over recent years the tablet PC’s of 2008 are virtually unrecognizable from the first generation devices that were introduced by companies such as Pen Computing in the early 1990’s. Now lightweight, robust, and as responsive and functional as a notebook, the rollout of tablets across most business sectors would prove immensely beneficial. Certainly with the enhancement of pen (stylus) and finger (touch) operability the tablet PC delivers an outstanding user experience that is mobile and communicable, without the obvious need for a mouse or keyboard. [See image 1]
For several years I have evaluated and rolled out tablet PC's across multiple organizations in diverse business sectors such as education, health, transportation, finance, military and construction. These have covered contracted organizations, projects and national program rollouts for IT and until recently the true potential of tablet PC’s was limited to very specific market sectors and environmental settings. Being too unreliable, too heavy or too slow to operate it was simply a case that the tablets of yesteryear were only viable if placed on a desk and used like a notebook, begging the obvious question, why bother when a cheaper desktop or notebook will do? [See image 2]
Now however, with the advancement of smaller, faster and more resilient hardware technology, and with enhanced software adaptability, application driving via tablet PC architecture is the equal of any standard desktop or notebook. What is more with shock absorption and wireless communications the tablet PC offers opportunities for mass implementation across a broad spectrum of business sectors, whatever the environment. [See image 3]
With this expansive market opportunity comes competition, as such many technology manufacturers are opening up development channels to produce tablet PC’s with the right blend of performance, visuals, connectivity and resilience. The choice is considerable but on close analysis and with thorough testing the viable business offerings can be whittled down to a few.
You can’t run a tank over any of these devices, play the latest version of Call of Duty or launch a spaceship to Mars! But you can reliably run applications with speed, from mobile locations and without worrying about bumping or bruising the device. What follows is a brief discussion of five tablet PC's which offer home and business users a solid all round mobile computing solution.
Dell Latitude XT: A cutting edge tablet PC [See image 4]
HP Compaq 2710p: Plenty of power at a great price [See image 5]
Motion F5: Super slick, reliable and ultraportable [See image 6]
Toshiba Portégé M700: A heavy lump but a solid all round performer [See image 7]
Panasonic Toughbook CF-T7: Another robust tablet PC from Panasonic that doesn’t disappoint [See image 8]