The tablet revolution is coming: Working anywhere without compromise

The tablet revolution is coming: Working anywhere without compromise

Summary: The BYOD movement is just getting started, fueled by the capable tablet. It is now possible to get a full day's work from almost anywhere, without compromise.

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The workforce is becoming more mobile than ever before, and the capable tablet is a growing reason why. It is why the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is in the news so much, as many want to bring the tablet to work. The tablet frees folks up to work almost anywhere, in large part because mobile OSes have evolved to provide powerful mobile experiences.

Right now I am working as I do every day, performing all the tasks I need to do, dealing with work issues as they come up, and writing this column. It is business as usual, except I am at the car dealership having my auto repaired.

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While I am sitting here in the waiting room, a team of mechanics is trying to figure out (and hopefully repair) the air conditioning on my SUV. That's a critical repair in the humid Texas Gulf Coast, as summer is approaching which turns cars without A/C into death traps.

Those who follow this column probably aren't surprised about my working here. I've worked in various venues and covered it. Heck, I even worked in the ICU after an accident so working in the repair shop is a piece of cake.

I point this out as it is significant that I am able to work without compromise in the most unlikely of places due to an outstanding mobile platform and a tablet that is as capable as any computer. I won't detail which platform or tablet I am using as I don't want discussion to turn into flame wars. The point is it doesn't matter, I could be using an Android tablet, iPad, or even the BlackBerry Playbook. Any of those tools are up to the challenge I regularly throw at them.

This is a good time to be a mobile enthusiast, as the tools have grown wonderfully in the last few years. The hardware is simply great, and the platforms that drive it just as good. Sure, there is always room for improvement but the fact is what we have is already pretty darn good.

This is why Microsoft is so anxious to get in the mobile space with tablets, as they see the future. The decision to constrict Windows Phone to phone hardware is hurting them in this mobile revolution. This is why Windows 8, and particularly Windows RT on ARM tablets, is so important to the folks at Redmond.

Windows RT has a big opportunity on ARM tablets, as a large segment of consumers I hear from regularly do not believe the other mobile platforms are capable of doing real work. That's not true in my experience, but it plays into Microsoft's hands with Windows RT tablets.

This is why it is vital for Microsoft to get Windows RT right, and in particular the browser. Microsoft's mobile browsers have fallen short in the past, and this cannot happen with Windows RT. Having a browser on Windows RT that requires excuses will be fatal. It is time for excellence, not excuses with Internet Explorer on Windows RT.

Today's apps are nice tools to use for working anywhere, but even when they are lacking the mobile browser usually steps in when needed. Browsers on every mobile platform have evolved into near desktop equivalents, and they can be used without compromise almost all the time.

They are based on Webkit, which has shown to be a marvelous platform for mobile browsers. They work well on both tablet and smartphone hardware, and have been optimized nicely for each type of gadget.

Adoption of tablets and mobile platforms will ramp up as more get exposed to the ability to work without walls (even cubicle partitions). More folks will push to bring their personal gadgetry to work, and the BYOD movement is going to gain legs as a result. Microsoft cannot affort to sit out this revolution, and better be great at the Windows RT launch.

Image credit: Steve Snodgrass

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Topics: SMBs, Browser, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, Windows

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  • Microsoft has already soiled its Windows 8 diaper

    Windows 8 is going to be the only mobile platform that does not have a WebKit browser.

    Microsoft is going to try its best to exclude other browsers from Windows 8. Is this what the public wants? No. There is nothing faster than WebKit, which is why it is the basis of Safari, Chrome and other popular browsers.

    Microsoft could easily take WebKit as the basis for its new browser. But it won't. While Ballmer is still in charge, Microsoft will plod along with Internet Explorer forever, ruining its tablet chances.
    Vbitrate
    • Thats complete crap. IE10 is faster than any webkit based browser there is

      And FF (another non webkit browser) and Chrome will both run on W8.
      Johnny Vegas
      • IE10 is slower than Chrome.

        I believe that claim is not true. IE is never faster than Chrome.
        wosayit
      • IE10 is slower than Chrome

        @wosayit - Better test it. Relying on old models is a bit like saying, "I am buying this stock because it has had a 30% return on investment for the last three years! Surely it will do so again this year..." As we all know, past performance is no guarantee of the future. I have no idea which is faster. But claiming it because it has always been so is setting one up for failure.
        always-a-geek
      • friends dont let friends use IExploder

        err Explorer
        theo_durcan
      • Not on Windows RT

        MS has stated no 3rd party browsers will be allowed on Windows RT.
        JamesKendrick
      • James, please don't lie

        [i]MS has stated no 3rd party browsers will be allowed on Windows RT.[/i]

        I wish I didn't have to be harsh but this has been explained to you so the fact that you are repeating this nonsense can only lead one to believe you know it to be false and are doing it on purpose. That's lying.

        Anyone is free to create a browser shell in Windows RT just like anyone is free to create a browser shell in iOS. So yes, just like in the Apple App Store, you will be able to find dozens of "browsers" for Windows RT.

        What Microsoft said is that 3rd party application developers cannot use Win32 APIs in RT. Just like Apple apps get special abilities in iOS, Microsoft apps will get special abilities in Windows RT.

        So get the quote right James. Microsoft never said "no 3rd party browsers". They simply said "No Win32 access in Windows RT." If that prevents Google and Mozilla from releasing Chrome and Firefox, then Windows RT is no different from iOS where Mozilla tried to get Firefox released and Apple denied it access.
        toddbottom3
      • Maybe

        I'm actually posting this from IE10, and I am very pleasantly surprised at how fast it is. It's at least as good as Chrome on Win7. I think it'll be great on tablets, but I'm not sure about on PCs yet. I like having the browser always available as opposed to right clicking to bring up the address bar and new tab buttons. On a tablet where you have low real estate it makes perfect sense, but on a desktop or laptop I find it unnecessary and a little bit of a hassle to be honest. Still though, far better than the last few iterations of IE, and it gives me a lot of hope for the future.
        dsa791
      • wow

        "MS has stated no 3rd party browsers will be allowed on Windows RT."

        No, actually, they haven't. Maybe you should be paying more attention to the details rather than the headlines.
        CobraA1
      • How do you know?

        Just wondering, how any of you Microsoft worshipers know IE10 is going to be faster than WebKit on ARM? Such thing does not exist yet outside of the Microsoft labs. You believe it "will" be true, because Microsoft said so?
        Microsoft has promised lots of things that didn't happen in the past. Why trust them now? Especially for a platform, they have absolutely no experience with?

        Don't compare a desktop computer, with it's huge and dissipating about 100 watts CPU with the tiny CPU that is found on the mobile devices. If you have lots of CPU cycles to waste running the bloated Microsoft code on the desktop, there is no such luxury on a tablet.
        danbi
    • Bigger Question: What do laptops do to stay relevant?

      Tablets are indeed becoming more and more powerful, and plenty good enough for war very many people use a computer for. Tablets aren't going to replace sit-down workstations for things like web design, IC engineering and the like, but for communications, presentations, database access, the tablet is going to be adequate. And tablets are mechanically simpler, have better battery life and are cheaper.

      So, what are laptops going to gain in "usefulness" to justify what will certainly be - in the long term - higher prices, greater heft and mechanical inelegance?
      z2217
      • There is still a couple places laptops are better.

        You can install your own software, and a laptop has an optical drive. Laptops can also be upgraded - most tablets cannot. If you run out of space, you have to delete something or get a bigger tablet. With a laptop, at least there are some upgrades available - memory etc. But for most general things, a tablet might be ok. I use my Kindle Fire a lot in restaurants to keep the grandkids occupied while the waitstaff and food come.
        library assistant
      • Big Destops will still have a role to play

        I agree with z2217: big desktops will continue to have a role to play. It may be a niche role (web design, graphics creation, video editing), but as much as I love my iPad 2, it is no substitute to my 52 lb. tower with dual graphic cards, five disk drives, 8GB RAM, an Intel quad processor, all driving four displays and being fed by a MS Natural keyboard and one of Logitech's finest mouses. I know I'm a out of what appears to be the evolving mainstream, but I'm happy with my beast.
        websquad
      • I don't see the laptop dying anytime soon

        Right now I have an Asus K52F that I use for schoolwork, actual work, music/movies, as well as some gaming (StarCraft 2, Dota 2, other non-graphic intensive games). It cost me $380+shipping, has a 16 inch screen, and I often have to check my backpack twice to make sure it's actually in there. This is a fairly low-end model that was bought on the cheap, and it's still much more powerful than a tablet. The keyboard is more comfortable than a bluetooth one because of the laptop palmrest, and also has a keypad. The screen is larger, making it way easier to look through spreadsheets (which is a necessity as an accounting student) and pretty much everything else too. I have a ton of ports for my mouse, external drive, printer (if Wi-Fi goes down), 2nd monitor, and HDMI output when necessary. It also runs the entire adobe creative suite, though I don't use that too often. Not to mention that a laptop becomes a huge benefit when doing any type of remote help with clients.

        I just don't think you can get all that in a tablet for around $400 shipped
        dsa791
      • Everything on a laptop is like using the best tool for the job. On a tablet it is like using a swiss army knife to do everything.

        Having tried to do as much as possible on a tablet instead of a laptop for more than a year, I find that I take far more time in doing even simple tasks like sorting thru emails, doing searches. The mouse & keyboard is still a superior control interface compared to touchscreen. Simple things like range selection, cut & paste, drag & drop (especially between apps) is cumbersome and erratic at times with touchscreens and very elegant and accurate with a mouse and keyboard. For example, being able to right click and get instant context sensitive menu instead of long pressing and sometimes getting selection instead of short cut menu is far more efficient.
        Multiple windows on tablet? Nope. the closest you can get is resizable widgets on Android.
        Need a big hard disk or USB drive? laptops: easy. Tablets: not so easy.
        Multitasking on a laptop is a piece of cake. On a tablet, it is cumbersome.
        Everything on a laptop is like using the best tool for the job. On a tablet it is like using a swiss army knife to do everything.
        It was FUN using the tablet and it was COOL, but I was wasting a boatload of time trying to be COOL and FUN. I slapped myself in the face and went back to my dirt-cheap netbook (about half the price of my tablet). I still use tablets, but I know full well I'm taking a compromise each time I use it instead of a laptop.
        warboat
      • Laptops stay relevant

        Laptops stay relevant because they have a physical keyboard built right in.

        A lot of respondents seem to equate 'tablet' with 'closed consumer device' like the iPad. But in reality it's just a form factor.

        Rathern than tablets replacing laptops, I see them converging. A laptop is a tablet with a keyboard attached to it; simple as that. Most laptops will likely also end up with touch screens.

        A laptop becomes an up-sale: "You want a keyboard with that?"
        Han CNX
      • More a smartphone replacement

        Most of the people that I know who have all the toys have added it rather than replaced anything with a tablet. I know many people who take their table into meetings and use it for casual things but not for long term serious work. Many tablet users preferentially use a table over a smart phone for app type tasks.

        We are still buying more laptops than tablets where I work. People seem to get more excited about Ultrabooks than tablets when it comes to it imho. This could well be related to the availability of Wifi in the UK but I don't think so. Nothing seems to work better than a keyboard and mouse for any task involving data input or manipulation rather than consumption.
        n.gurr@...
      • I plan on keeping a laptop

        Even if I were to get a tablet, I still want a keyboard in an ergonomic position for lengthy typing sessions. There's no way I'm typing for long periods of time on the virtual screen of a tablet. And I certainly want to keep playing all of the computer games I have as well.
        CobraA1
  • You know what i think?

    You're using a Windows 8 prototype tablet... and don't tell me you ain't! :)
    nessrapp
    • I hope youre right. If he's not he should be just for competitive review

      purposes. If he doesnt get a tablet to review with RP loaded on it somethings wrong with him.
      Johnny Vegas