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Uncle Sam Lines Up Early For New iPad

Department of the Interior plans to buy 20 new Apple tablets to streamline business operations.

10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
10 Great iPad Apps From Uncle Sam
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Consumers aren't the only ones clamoring to get their hands on the latest Apple iPad. The Department of Interior aims to be the first federal agency to use the device, with plans to purchase 20 of the third-generation iPads, which were released Friday.

The office of the secretary at the agency's National Business Center (NBC) is looking for 20 new iPad "or equal" tablet devices to help meet a requirement to streamline daily business tasks, according to a presolicitation notice on FedBizOpps.gov.

The department plans to make two awards (with an option for a third award) to procure 10 each of the devices--preferring half be white and half be black, according to the notice. The devices must be brand new and come with two-year warranties that include accidental damage.

The NBC aims to use the devices to improve daily office workflow and processes by eliminating paper-based processes, providing more information in real time, and improving efficiency of "common office activities," according to documentation attached to the notice on the FedConnect website.

[ What do IT managers think about Apple's new iPad? See New iPad And Enterprise IT: Exclusive Research. ]

Interior specifically is eyeing the latest iPad to fulfill the procurement, but will consider other tablets if they meet a list of requirements, according to FedConnect documentation.

The list is lengthy, including the following features and capabilities: 32 GB of memory; Wi-Fi and 4G (or better) capability; a 9.7-inch diagonal LED-backlit glossy widescreen; available software to open files in the following formats: .jpeg, .ppt, .pptx, tiff, .doc, .docx, HTML, Adobe, .rtf and .txt; the ability to integrate with the company's existing Active Directory via a Juniper VPN and/or Fiberlink MaaS360 mobile device management software; and ability to securely connect to the NBC's network, among others.

The Department of Interior was one of the early federal adopters of the iPad, distributing a small number of iPads to employees more than a year ago. Other agencies--including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense--have since followed suit as the feds in general increasingly are leveraging Apple and Android smartphones and tablets to improve productivity, reduce paper-based processes, and provide more ready access to agency applications.

The Air Force Mobility Command, for example, recently said it would purchase up to 18,000 iPad 2 or equal devices to use for electronic flight training and operations information, doing away with paper-based manuals. In the end, the unit chose Apple's devices, awarding Apple reseller Executive Technology a $9.36 million contract earlier this month to fulfill the procurement.

New features in the anticipated iPad, which went on sale with the typical fanfare surrounding an Apple consumer device launch, include a new high-resolution display, 4G LTE mobile broadband support, and a 1-GHz dual core processor with a quad-core graphics chip, which is more powerful than its predecessor's processor. It also has a 5-megapixel camera versus the iPad 2's 0.7 megapixel capability.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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User Rank: Apprentice
3/17/2012 | 1:18:30 AM
re: Uncle Sam Lines Up Early For New iPad
I have the iPad2 and I really like it. But I am going after an Android tablet to see what they are all about. I see that Haleron has a new 9.7 inch tablet with 10+ hours of usability and Android 4.0. The Haleron Tablet uses the same display as the iPad 2, (Thats good!) dual cameras (also nice!), 1GB RAM, 1.2GB processor, and all less than at half the price I paid for my iPad. But really, for me, it is the content that Apple offers that makes the difference. I believe if an Android maker offers a nice content package, they could have a competitive device. Little Haleron has some content with the device, but not near Apples Content. But here is the Kicker. Haleron has announced that they will begin assembly in the U.S. in September, 2012. Is this the start of a trend? Perhaps we can work toward re-assembling America! Buying Assembled in America!
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