Keeping tabs

As the workforce becomes more mobile the need to stay connected from anywhere has been growing.

November 1, 2011
by Michael Power

Purchasingb2b: September 2011 Print Edition

As the workforce becomes more mobile the need to stay connected from anywhere has been growing. Whether it’s at a conference, out meeting clients or at a job site, tablet computers are finding their place in many organizations with mobile workforces. Here is an overview of some of the tablet computers available to choose from.

The recently released iPad 2 is 33-percent thinner and 33-percent lighter than its predecessor. The device features the iOS4 operating system which Apple says is secure, stable, responsive and works seamlessly with the iPad hardware.

The iPad’s LED-backlit display is 9.7 inches wide and high-resolution, allowing a clear view of photos, movies and web pages. The tablet displays in portrait and landscape and the display adjusts to fit with every turn. The iPad uses IPS (in-plane switching) display technology, says Apple, so it has a 178-degree viewing angle. The tablet can therefore be held up to someone across a room and still offer a clear image.

The iPad is built with 802.11n wireless technology, says Apple, so the device automatically finds Wi-Fi networks. It also claims a 10-hour battery life.

Get tough
Panasonic plans to release an enterprise-grade Android tablet. The Toughbook tablet will feature a daylight viewable 10.1-inch screen and include an integrated active stylus, or writing device, to enable signature capture in the field. Panasonic has also embedded features in the hardware to address security needs.

Panasonic said the Toughbook tablet is designed to meet durability certifications and ingress protection ratings consistent with other Toughbook fully-rugged devices.

The tablet avoids glossy screens that Panasonic says can be difficult to read in outdoor environments. The tablet is ideal for highly mobile jobs such as direct store delivery (DSD), eCitation and vegetation management. Also, the company says, the tablet will appeal to SMBs and security conscious IT managers. Other features to be offered on the Toughbook tablet include satellite-based GPS, full-shift battery life, professional-grade accessories and optional embedded 3G/4G mobile broadband connectivity.

Keep it thin
Powered by Android 3.1, the super-skinny (7.7-mm) Toshiba Honeycomb AT200 tablet features a 10.1-inch diagonal, high-resolution multi-touch LED backlit display. It has a dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor with one gigabyte of RAM. The device includes a five-megapixel, rear-facing camera with an LED flash. It also boasts a mini-HDMI out, a micro USB port, and a micro SD card slot.

Sony has announced its first tablet device, the Android-powered Sony Tablet S, which features a 9.4-inch touchscreen display and a NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU processor. Weighing in at about 590 grams, Sony says the tablet has an ergonomic, asymmetric design, while built-in Wi-Fi compatibility provides Internet connectivity.

Sony’s tablet runs on Android version 3.1. This model features front- and rear-facing cameras that allow for video recording and capturing still images. The device supports USB (micro A/B) interface and SD cards for transferring files and data.

The tablet is equipped with Sony’s TruBlack technology, the company says. By controlling the refraction of kilght between the LCD and the screen, the TruBlack panel provides more vibrant colours, deeper blacks and a crisp picture. The Sony Tablet S is available with either 16GB or 32GB of memory.

Glacier Computer Systems has added several new tablets to its line of rugged computers. Available in seven-, eight- and 10-inch displays, the tablet offers standard configurations fully loaded with wireless 802.11 b/g/n, barcode imaging, camera, RFID and sunlight readable touchscreens. Windows XP or 7 Pro are standard on the devices, along with an Intel Atom processor.

Glacier’s rugged tablets provide portable desktop computing both inside and outside, the company says. The tablets suit a mobile workforce due to the devices’ grip-and-go handles, vibration and shock testing as well as desktop and vehicle cradles.

In September, Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy Tab, also an Android-based tablet. The Galaxy features a seven-inch TFT-LCD touchscreen, Wi-Fi capability, a 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 (“Hummingbird”) processor and the Swype input system. Samsung said the device boasts a 3.2-megapixel, rear-facing camera and a 1.3-MP front-facing camera for video calls. The galaxy runs on the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system. The device comes in two capacity models: 16GB and a 32GB of internal memory. b2b