that the iPad—or any other tablet—
meets the needs of the business in
all the areas in which it has impact.
For example, if it’s being used in
health care, it must meet HIPAA
(Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act) requirements.
Whether the tablet meets all the
necessary compliance requirements
is up to the IT office and the compliance auditors. However, as is
the case with so much else in IT, a
great deal will depend on what use
is planned for the device.
In the case of tablets such as the
iPad, the planned use means a great
deal. “You’re not going to create a
PowerPoint or write a 40-page document on a tablet,” analyst Gold said,
noting that the target use has to be
determined for every enterprise for
this or any other tablet computer.
For example, using an iPad as
your window on the Internet
to run Web-based applica
tions might be a perfect
use, but it could also
be a challenge given
refusal to support
Other tablets that appear in the
near future could have similar limita
tions in meeting enterprise require
ments. Right now, the exact nature
of HP’s WebOS tablet (assuming
it’s real) or perhaps an Android-based tablet remains to be seen.
Perhaps these devices will be more
enterprise-ready, or perhaps they’ll
be pure consumer devices with no
real enterprise applications.
Whatever form they take, Gold
doubts they’ll represent a true
mainstream solution to general
computing needs. “Why does this
make my life easier, faster or better?” he asked. “Tablets were never a
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enterprise, and includes a stylus
and a keyboard. Both ease data entry
and content creation, but make the tablets
general solution for making my life better. One of
the fundamental issues
is that it’s got to be better than what I’ve got, or
why buy it?”
A fuzzy line
The same is true to
some extent with netbook computers. Their
physical size makes
them less than totally
suitable for many of the
tasks for which people
use laptop computers.
But the line between netbooks and
laptops is getting very fuzzy.
Notebook makers are delivering
devices called netbooks that have 12-
inch screens and physically resemble highly portable laptop computers. The overlap is significant, and
even one prior differentiator, the use
of Intel’s Atom processor, is going
away as some notebook and laptop
computers adopt this low-power
approach to computing.
In fact, the distinction between
netbook and laptop com-
puters may have already
disappeared. Some ana-
lysts, including Far-
point’s Mathias, already
lump them together.
Tablets, likewise, may
be morphing into notebook computers more
than supplanting them.
The touch screen and
that are already being
used on the iPad and a
variety of smartphones
are pretty much a sure
thing for laptop computers. Touch
screens have been around for years,
and so have tablets that can switch
between being a conventional laptop
computer and being a device that
features a touch-sensitive screen.
The biggest difference that’s on
the horizon will be the adoption
of some of the technologies that
have seen success in the tablet and mobile world. For
iPad uses the
its iPod Touch,
and HP’s rumored
Hurricane tablet may
use Palm’s WebOS. These
new environments will also
include their user interfaces and
media display capabilities.
Days are numbered
Another area that’s already making
the transition from mobile devices
to notebook computers is solid-state
storage. While rotating hard disks will
clearly be around for a while because of
their low price and high capacity, their
days in the world of mobile computers,
including laptops, are numbered.
HP’s Hess-Nickels: Look
for big changes in industrial design, including
metal cases and colors.