OPINION: Which tablet would you like, Sir?

PC Pal's Jat Mann discuses the adoption of tablets
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PC Pal's Jat Mann discuses the adoption of tablets

Jat Mann takes a look back at the evolution of the tablet and why IT professionals need to be up to date on mobile device knowledge if they hope to offer service to businesses as the tablet trend grows.

In this month’s column I would like to share my experiences as a long-term tablet user. With the burgeoning variants of tablets now on the market and even High Street and online retailers now joining the bandwagon, more and more home and business customers are adopting these devices.

However, tablets have actually been around for over two decades in one guise or another.
Despite their later success, Apple launched an ill-fated Newton range in the early 1990s that failed to capture the public’s imagination.

Other devices in the past have run on full Microsoft operating systems specifically designed for tablets. I still have my first ever one – the Motion Tablet M1400.

Some former Dell executives created Motion Computing. Their tablet PCs ran Windows XP Tablet Edition, had multiple USB ports, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, a fingerprint reader, VGA output, a detachable keyboard, optional 3G connection and a 12.1 in screen.

Fast forward to April 2010, the rumour mill was expecting that Apple would launch an updated Newton, but instead we saw the iPad.

The iPad has been further refined and improved over the years – Apple has succeeded in making an affordable tablet for the masses (and profited hugely from the strategy).

Google also launched its own branded tablets and I recently tried out an Android tablet (a non-Google variant). Amazon has its Kindle Fire ranges and last year Microsoft launched its Surface tablet.

The Surface was lambasted for its pricing and features. However, Microsoft has just released the Surface 2, which I am very impressed with.

The reason I write is that business customers have been increasingly asking about how to best utilise tablets in the workplace. Mobile working and access to data is key for many staff, as well as security, reliability and support.

With several affordable options now available, the time has arrived for businesses of all shapes and sizes to embrace these devices. And who will they ask for help? IT professionals like us.

So this month’s tip is to get up to speed with tablets and mobile working before your competition overtakes you.

Jat Mann is MD of www.PCPal.co.uk. You can contact him on jat@pcpal.co.uk