Clients ask us all the time how best to protect their computers, iPads, notebooks, and other technology from falls, bumps, etc. There are a number of companies that make protective gear for nearly every kind of device. G-Form in Rhode Island makes a 6 ounce protective case called the "Extreme Edge". To demonstrated its effectiveness, they hooked up an iPad with an Extreme Edge to a weather balloon and tracking device. After release in the Nevada desert, the balloon floated up to the near edge of space, about 100,000 feet where the balloon burst and the package hurtled to the ground. Yes, the iPad survived. For pictures and a video:
Randy Johnson, Vice President - Network Management Group, Inc.
(Editor's Note - We have been long associated with NMGI in Hutchinson, Ks. Randy and his partner Steve Harper are good friends. This is a great article on the use of mobile devices in your business and whether these devices are ready for prime time.)
Is this the year of the Tablet? Has the mobile Internet finally arrived? What business purposes are served by using mobile Internet devices, and how can they help us better serve clients? Whether you are working with products from Apple, Motorola, BlackBerry, HTC, Samsung or a myriad of other providers, access to the Internet, and applications or "apps" drive the mobile world. Today, you can use apps that give you access to paperless documents from your office, provide clarification of a business rule from a quick check of research, have the ability to take a note to jog an idea, or to take enough notes for an entire draft memo. You can initiate a print job from anywhere to shared Internet printers, read a document that has been synchronized to the mobile device after being scanned, read books, publications, news sources, email, and consume content from almost any popular source.
Apps make it possible to listen to and see news feeds, video conferences, record video, take and view pictures, and access multimedia content from internet sources. While there are limitations, most users now agree that they are so few that a new age of mobility has arrived. Devices that enable the mobile Internet, whether phones or tablets, are used for consumption of content. They may not be the most efficient data-entry devices, but they are probably sufficient for light duty entry. Sitting in your home, during a commute, at a client's office or in a meeting with access to items you consider critical or convenient can be very enabling or distracting.
What is your plan?
Like many aspects of business, you must first define your need. This is a fundamental rule for all good information technology systems. We each have responsibilities and tasks to complete. What would you like to be able to do when you are not at your desk and what do you have to do? Next, you need to define the purpose of your mobile device. When cell phones first arrived, many were resistant to the idea of carrying a phone all of the time and being too accessible. Cost, size, background noise and clarity of calls were all issues. Today, don't we consider the cell phone a vital business tool that aides in convenience, safety, as well family and client communication and service? Carrying only one mobile device would be preferred, but the limitations of screen size, speed and convenient keyboard entry make this particular goal questionable. Products like the Motorola Atrix are trying to overcome these objections by providing a docking station that is both a larger screen and a keyboard, while having dual processors in the phone itself. Others, like Steve Jobs from Apple, have backed larger screen sizes saying a 7-inch screen would be "too small to express the software." He said 10 inches was the minimum for a tablet screen. Hence the screen size on the iPad.
With the iPad 2 being recently released, I've updated an article from last year on the original iPad. A lot has happened in the past year and there's more to come with the iPad 2.
I've been a PC user for as long as there have been PCs. So it was with a bit of trepidation, I bought an Apple iPad last May. As I pulled the thin, very light device out of its box, I really wondered if it would be at all useful. There was no real manual and no physical keyboard. And since I use a Blackberry, not an iPhone, I had little experience with Apple's touchscreen interface.
Why did I get an iPad? I've been a private pilot longer than I've been involved in the computer business. To be able to make landings in poor weather, there's the necessity to carry instrument approach information (they are called approach plates) for every airport that we fly to. This information is updated about every month and traditionally has been purchased via subscription from the FAA. The ones that I use come in bound volumes that are over a foot thick when piled together. With the iPad, the costly subscription and hard copy books disappear and is replaced by an "app" that contains all the approaches for all airports in the US.
So, for this PC user, what's it been like: