Business tablets stake their claim
Following Gadget Zone's recent review of the most desirable tablet computers for the 2011 Chrismas season, devices are coming to light that may attract business users, reports Gail Purvis.
Broadly agreeing with AccountingWEB, a review of the best five devices for business from Business Insider recommended Motorola's Xoom alongside the ASUS, Apple and Samsung Galaxy we suggested.
But there's another approach emerging from companies that cater specifically for business use. After a swift U-turn on its plan to exit the hardware industry, HP's TouchPad (pictured above) definitely catches the eye. Thanks to experience with electronic field instrumentation, HP and touchscreen computing have a long heritage that continues through to the TouchPad. The tablet has a 9.7in screen and comes in 16GB or 32GB models running HP's multitasking webOS operating system. It's powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, and is priced to match the equivalent iPad.
Unlike Apple and its abhorrence for Adobe Flash, (no, you really can't have Chrome on the iPad) the HP TouchPad has Flash built in, plus a standard USB connector for charging or connecting to your computer, with wireless inductive charging available using HP’s Touchstone dock.
Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet, meanwhile, is a touchscreen device said to have the "DNA of a commercial notebook". It weighs in at 715g, so is heavier tham an iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. But reviewers say it is comfortable to use and have praised both its digitiser pen and note taking app, which supports handwritten text entry as well as document mark-up and drawing and annotation on PDF documents.
The ThinkPad runs Google's Honeycomb 3.1 Android operating software, while Lenovo’s pre-loaded, Computrace style software adds corporate and security features such as an encrypted SD card slot, layered data encryption and support for Cisco VPN (virtual private network) to access corporate networks. ThinkPad has 2GB of free cloud storage and Lenovo can partition the ThinkPad's hard drive for personal use, if the tablet is also to be used by an IT department.
In an Any Answers thread on tablet recommentations, AccountingWEB member moneymanager put in a good word for Motion Computing, which makes the 8.4in LS800 tablet PC and more recent models including the 12in J3500 (see comment below - Ed). Weighing in at a kilo, this hybrid portable has a 1.2GHz ultra-low-voltage Pentium M processor and 20-60GB hard drive storage options. It runs a full version of Windows XP and a Windows XP tablet edition, and has a stylus for navigating and handwritten notes. With Bluetooth, Ethernet, and integrated 802.11b/g communications, its data safety includes a fingerprint reader and the Intel Trust Platform. It also connects to a range of peripherals via VGA and two USB 2.0 ports, head/microphone jacks, and a docking connector. It's undoubtedly a heavyweight device, and packs a serious price - £1,895.
Try asking Santa for one!