It’s not often you see the words “Tablet” and “Productivity” in a sentence and have it mean something positive.
For those who don’t know, Tablet PCs are the class of computer that is essentially a touch screen monitor. They look like bigger versions of Smart Phones. If you’ve seen an Apple iPad (aff), then you’ve seen a tablet.
Tablet PCs have been largely criticized as a novelty product meant only for convenient communication and playing Angry Birds. I disagree with this view, and I will demonstrate why in this article.
I’m writing this article for anyone who is wondering how to make more effective use of their tablet PC, or for anyone who is considering the purchase of tablets for business, but wants to know if it will be useful to them.
Bringing a Screwdriver to a Hammer Fight
I’ve noticed that many who complain about Tablet PC uses compare Tablets in an unfair manner. Tablets are terrible when it comes to text or graphic heavy applications. This is largely a hardware limitation, although the text limitation is remedied easily by a USB or Bluetooth keyboard.
Comparing tablets to these measures is like comparing a screwdriver’s ability to hammer a nail into a board. Likewise, you shouldn’t be taking your Toyota Prius to the drag strip. You use these tools where they work best: if you want to win in a race with your Prius, then participate in a distance challenge.
What I’m getting at here, is Tablets are useful in specific instances, and this is where their value should be determined.
Tablets For Business
To understand how a tablet can be useful for business, we need to consider what they do well:
- Battery Life
- Ample application (Apps) access via “Markets”
- Social Media Integration
Tablet Battery Life
Tablet PCs will increase your productivity in areas where these features are useful. If you are at your desk at work, then battery life won’t be helpful, but if you are on a long trip, or in a waiting room of some sort, then your tablet may then become an asset to you.
If you need an application to get a job done, then chances are you can find something in one of the app markets for free or cheap. If you were on an ordinary computer, then you would probably need to search all over the internet to find an application, buy it, and install it. Tablets make this process far more friendly, and efficient.
The portability of a tablet is second to none. Even Netbooks seem cumbersome in comparison. There’s just something convenient about not having a 90 degree angle sitting in your lap.
Tablets and Social Media
A common criticism for tablet PCs is they are really only good for social media, and that is one of the advantages that I will list. It is easy to snap a picture with your tablet, and put it onto Twitter. There are apps that let you manage all of your social networks from one dashboard. These are extremely productive features, especially if you handle the social media marketing for your business.
I mention “Agility” and what I mean by this is tablets are quick, and nimble. They start quickly, you can download and access new applications quickly, its easy to manage multiple desktops, they are more agile than the average computer. This is largely because they were designed this way.
Desktops and laptops were designed knowing a mouse and keyboard would be present, so agility was an after thought. Tablets were designed understanding that people needed speed and efficiency. This is especially true when building tablets for business.
The Tablet Agenda
My favorite use for table PCs, and probably where they shine most, is their ability to keep agendas. There are many apps out there (I’m really liking Jorte right now) that will handle your Calendar, allow task lists, and send reminders.
Tablets are perfect for this function because they are always with you (portability), calendars and tasks are not text heavy (less typing), and their interfaces make it easy to have the information right in front of you.
My tablet (The Acer A100 aff) has 5 different “desktops” if you will, and the first desktop has my list of upcoming tasks, a calendar shot of the week ahead, my planning app (Jorte), and a few other productivity apps. So, the first thing I see when I turn my tablet on is all the stuff I need to do.
Yes, the tablet isn’t ideal for word processing or graphic design, but this doesn’t make them useless to many. If you don’t need the battery life, portability, planning, apps, or social media integration, then I’ll concede that tablets are useless to you. Next time, we’ll talk about the Dark Side of Tablet PCs (Ooo, scary!).
Are you using tablet PCs effectively? Are you considering tablets for your business? What do you think of tablets for business, and tablets for productivity?