Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
3/28/2010
08:35 PM
Dave Methvin
Dave Methvin
Commentary
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Are 'Pads' A Useful IT Tool?

It looks like the iPad has enjoyed robust early demand; Apple has responded by delaying its new pre-orders until April 12 so that there will be enough inventory available for in-store sales beginning on April 3. So much for being the first to own the iPad by ordering in advance!

It looks like the iPad has enjoyed robust early demand; Apple has responded by delaying its new pre-orders until April 12 so that there will be enough inventory available for in-store sales beginning on April 3. So much for being the first to own the iPad by ordering in advance!I wonder, though, whether businesses should be getting excited about devices like the iPad. Apple's iPad can take advantage of all the existing iPhone software in the Apple Store. It cannot, however, run Mac or Windows desktop apps. Sure there are thousands of iPhone apps, but most aren't something you'd want for business use. Although I have to admit, the iFart app might be a genuinely useful tool for the Beano sales team. At the very least it certainly would make for an interesting sales call.

The rumored Microsoft Courier pad is looking increasingly real, and it might be more IT-friendly. If the preliminary reconnaissance is right, though, it will be much more like the iPad in that it will use Windows Mobile, rather than the Windows 7 that currently is compatible with corporate desktop apps. At the very least, you have to figure that any Microsoft pad will be able to use Microsoft Office documents.

But if you need access to existing corporate applications, why not go with a portable device that supports Windows XP, Vista, or 7? A device like the HP Elitebook 2740p provides tablet functionality without giving up a keyboard for those situations when typing saves valuable time. And since few corporate apps use touch at the moment, it makes you wonder why a plain old notebook or netbook can't do the job.

I'd really like to know if any of you out there have plans for pads of any kind in your business IT forecasts. Are there already some useful applications for the technology, or do you plan to wait until they are field tested and have proved their worth?

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