eWeek, among others, announced that Microsoft will introduce potential iPad killing Windows 8 (yes, that’s right Eight (8)) tablets at the 2011 Consumer Electronic Show (CES). Windows 8 was needed since Windows 7 isn’t really touch screen ready. This has kept Microsoft from becoming a real player in the tablet market.
Why should the enterprise care? This is why…
It’s a docking station that would make the tablet a desktop, just like we do with our laptops. I realize this isn’t “earth shattering” news, but the potential for powerful tablets as desktop AND laptop replacements is extremely appealing to this Desktop manager. If tablets become powerful enough to support all business processes, I’d start using them to replace our current hardware standard of one laptop and one to three desktops per user, depending on the job function.
Is it also a viable replacement for a smart phones? In most cases, yes, but only if Bluetooth wireless devices become less cumbersome. While Bluetooth car interfaces have been readily accepted, personal Bluetooth ear pieces are still too unreliable for the less-tech-savvy user. You’ll see this issue become less of a challenge as smart phone ear piece technology becomes easier to interface.
What about price? We’ll see, but if you look at the history of Netbooks as an example, those prices quickly dropped as production picked up. A powerful sub $500 tablet isn’t far off.
Is processor power there yet? Not at a level needed to replace desktops, but it’s not far off. With Intel establishing their own NetBook and Tablet group, things will only get better in 2011.
What about the Android, Apple, and RIM tablets? All our candidates, too, but my experience tells me that a Microsoft product on a Microsoft network has more potential to quickly assimilate into our environment. My existing application clients should port right over. No need for additional licensing or purchases.
Desktop support needs a highly mobile, connected, and transparent support device that doesn’t keep us tied down to our desk. We succeed when we’re VISIBLE and AVAILABLE. Smart phones are too small, laptops to big, and I don’t want just one more device to augment what I already have. Let’s see what happens at CES.