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Microsoft IT

Microsoft's Killer Tablet Opportunity 282 282

snydeq writes "Advice Line's Bob Lewis sees ripe opportunity for Microsoft in the tablet market: Forget about outdoing Apple's iPad and give us the features that finally improve the way we work. 'The game isn't beating Apple at its own game. The magic buzzword is to "differentiate" and show what your technology will do that Apple won't even care about, let alone beat you at. One possible answer: Help individual employees be more effective at their jobs,' Lewis writes, outlining four business features to target, not the least of which would be to provide UI variance, enabling serious tablet users to expose the OS complexity necessary to do real work."
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Microsoft's Killer Tablet Opportunity

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @06:55AM (#39057769)

    I will say that, in my experience, the current crop of tablets aren't great at data input in the corporate environment.

    I want something that I can write on with a stylus and it will, at the very least, sync to my outlook and preferably my document management system (Hummingbird DM, which to be fair is probably 10 years old now).

  • by will_die (586523) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @07:38AM (#39057925) Homepage
    Don't have a full blown tablet I use the ipad mini aka Apple Touch.
    Usage wise they are as you said a cool gadget for consumming content and writing short comments. If you want to produce content get a laptop.
    That said they are great for traveling and if I was still in a job where I was spending a good portion of the month in a hotel I would have purchased a full blown tablet and carried that around with me in addition to my laptop.
  • My killer tablet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @07:40AM (#39057933)

    Tablets have been called a niche item since the days of Tablet PCs - my killer tablet? What I have been crying for all along, a digital artist's tablet. This means a higher resolution screen (better than 1280x800 - try more like a full 1080p screen resolution so that most programs will work in portrait - and preferably in a 4:3 format), dedicated graphics (many digital art programs benefit from this), a Wacom digitizer, and a dual battery design so you can carry a couple of extra cells and swap them out without having to power down.

    That is the problem most Tablet PC manufacturers made. They thought they could make a device for the business world that would replace the very low cost and versatile pen/pencil and paper. No tablet will ever be as thin as paper, so carrying a dozen tablets and spreading them out will never work (and there are many times when people want to look over several sheets at once and "100% zoom"). However, if they had focused on the artist and the art student, created a series of specialty pens that had the look and feel of traditional media (a square "charcoal/pastel stick", a fine brush, a wide brush, etc) then marketed it as "get unlimited art tools and supply for only $1500, and carry your entire studio in you bag" or "never worry about using hazardous chemicals to clean up, just click save and go" then they might have had a chance.

    Anyway, there is my take on it. You want to differentiate yourself on the market? Think who would benefit from a pen input and design the system around them. I don't want an over-bloated eReader with LCD screen. I don't want a dumbed-down laptop. I don't want a walled garden of apps that only some single company wants to restrict myself to. I don't want a giant smartphone that doesn't work as a phone. I want a portable digital art studio, and I do believe that pen input tablets are the ideal solution. A shame not one company had the foresight to create one.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @07:43AM (#39057945) Journal

    Early radio phones, even early mobiles were a disaster to use. A car phone wasn't always just your mobile in your car, it was a major installation.

    Early mobile phones came in a suitcase. So... where did you leave all the stuff in your normal case? Carry 2 suitcases? Not very high powered right?

    But tech progressed and right now with bluetooth headsets and voice dialing we are getting damned close to the perceived convenience of Star Trek communicators.

    I think tablets are a dead end. The future is retina displays and neural input. It is obvious really, holding a screen and a keyboard in whatever combinations just ain't convenient. Laptops ain't any better, we just got used to their inconvenience. If you see some people type on a phone, you can easily forget just how fucking akward it is to use... but we move on.

    I think tablets are the very early ancestors of anywhere computing. Not anywhere as in anywhere I sit down but anywhere as in on the move. Not traditional computing work tasks such as writing a document or doing design, but informational and entertainment computing. Google maps has completely replaced my need for a map. I used to have several. Recently threw them out. Don't need them. Not that I use Maps all that often but that is the real convenience, when I need it, it is right there, up to date and ready to use.

    Music, movies and games. We used to have to sit down to play them or bring very specialized travel sets with us. With a phone/tablet, you can play almost any game, wherever you want, when you want. Yes, they are akward and simplistic and underpowered. But that will chance. I still got an old phone that can play snakes, compared to that, modern mobile games are a million times better. NEITHER is yet anywhere as convenient and reliable as old LCD games or as rich and powerful as PC games but... getting there.

    I remember the Walkman... it was all the rage for a while and then it died. It wasn't until years later that personal audio made a come back with the portable MP3 player. Why?

    Walkman's just weren't convenient with their tapes, it takes a lot of work to mix a tape and then you have the same limitted tracks in the same order unless you bring bulky tapes (check tape size vs MP3 player). Only the hardcore persisted, some bought mini-disc but the majority didn't bother.

    Now the MP3 player is back with a vengeance.

    I see a LOT of people with iPads that barely use them, they just ain't that comfortable to use right now or all that useful but that will change. Those cheap nasty headphones of the walkman (orange foam pads) have evolved into in-ear buds and massive headphones depending on taste. Tablets will evolve too. How? If I knew that I would be to busy being filthy rich to post on slashdot.

  • face meet palm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Swampash (1131503) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @07:58AM (#39058029)

    Apple makes gorgeous meticulously designed products that make people's lives easier.

    To combat this, apparently Microsoft needs to produce something that will make employees more effective at their jobs.

  • by dokc (1562391) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @08:25AM (#39058157) Journal

    iPads with keyboards would work great for 99% of them.

    So actually any notebook, notepad, subnotebook,... would also work great for them...
    Actually, 99% of them need only a paper notebook and a telephone.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:42AM (#39058665)
    Indeed. Except for the Triple UI, current and former Windows tablets have had the first 3 things that he wanted.
  • by teslar (706653) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:59AM (#39058899)

    If you really want a tablet for professionals and business people, make one with a responsive enough stylus with no parallax error.

    Hi, I used to be a complete skeptic when it came to tablets (not just iPads). Then, recently, I saw someone with an iPad + stylus + Notes plus [notesplusapp.com] in a meeting, just happily jotting down his hand-written notes on the iPad. And just watching the ease with which he could do that might just have sold me a tablet.

    To elaborate a little: I dislike typing for note-taking, so I stick to the pen-and-paper approach but this means my notes are scattered across a number of notebooks (depending on which were lying around when I grabbed one for wherever the next meeting was). Being able to take hand-written notes that all end up on the same device, nicely browsable and printable - yeah, that can win me over.

  • by Tom (822) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @12:04PM (#39060981) Homepage Journal

    businesses will adapt anything that improves productivity while conforming to security's infrastructure.


    You've never been in a large corporation, have you? Politics and whatever the decision makers believe in plays a much bigger role than productivity, even if you manage to measure it.

    The last company I worked for introduced the iPad into the company as an "information device for the top 50 managers".
    Top 50 wasn't selected by who actually had the most immediate need to have an information device with them, it was by selected who the top 50 people in the corporate hierarchy were.
    In other words, they handed out shiny toys to themselves. You could literally smell the ego-boost for weeks when you entered their offices and they were reading their e-mail on the iPad instead of the desktop PC that was an arm's length away.

    That is how corporations select what to adapt. Playing golf with the CTO has ten times the chances of landing you the deal that presenting excellent performance measures does.

    Yes, I have a low opinion of most managers. I've worked closely with too many of them. There are exceptions, as everywhere. The average manager could be exchanged with a 9 year old and aside from the redecorated office, nobody would notice.
    And yes, there were studies about decision quality of so called top managers against random selection and kids. In almost all of them, either the kids or random chance wins.

  • by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @12:17PM (#39061231)

    Says you. Fortunately there's no English language authority, only groups who document usage and meaning (ie dictionary folks).

    The language evolves, sometimes quite rapidly. A great example of radical change over a relatively long time span is the word "nice". An example of change in a short time span is "gay".

    In the end, the correct usage depends on the context, which includes the forum and audience. The TV journalist is probably ok with their usage of "begs the question" because they will be understood by their audience. A student in a philosophy class wouldn't get away with it.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:09PM (#39062949) Journal

    That sounds like an ugly hack. From what I've heard, Lenovo solved that problem with its Thinkpad Tablet by using digitizer for its stylus rather than it imitating touch - so it can actually distinguish between stylus and your hand, and ignore the latter when stylus is active. It sounds like a better engineering solution to me.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:35PM (#39063383) Journal

    android has almost nothing right now in apps

    That's BS right there. Care to name any useful app that iOS has but Android does not?

Experiments must be reproducible; they should all fail in the same way.