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Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1–Outdoor Screen viewing Vs iPad


There is a very thorough review of the rugged Panasonic ToughBook FZ-G1 over at While reading through, the following image really stood out:

Consumer tablet screens have come a long way since the early days of iPad. Most manufacturers have adopted direct bonding, wide viewing IPS and higher brightness displays.

As you can see, they still lag a long way behind rugged tablets for outdoor viewing.

We don’t expect that to ever change since consumer tablets are made to look like shiny when on the shelf in the store. That same shiny, glossy display that makes you want to buy the tablet completely destroys its usability outdoors.

Unfortunately putting a ruggedized case around the consumer tablet with a Perspex screen protector only makes matters worse for screen viewing. As you can see, for field tablet users iPads might be cheap, but they are a massive compromise  – and that’s just fine if you don’t care about productivity!

From the Rugged PC Review article:

With the Toughpad G1, Panasonic offers what one might call a "new-era" rugged Windows tablet in the 10-inch class. The G1 is as svelte and sleek and light as it could possibly be while still providing the toughness and ruggedness Panasonic mobile computers are known for. – Dr Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, Rugged PC Review

Motion J3500 tablet gets press on SMH


In her weekend article in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Australian workplaces succumb to the iPad”, Cynthia Karena covers a number of companies who have adopted tablets.

Interestingly the article demonstrates that much of the push for consumer tablets comes from the simple communication needs of executives and board members. For that, consumer tablets like the iPad can do just fine – security policies permitting.

But for ADT security who wanted to deploy tablets for 80 field technicians, the iPad was never going to cut it. Mark Norton, managing director for ADT in Australia is quoted:

"iPads don’t have the power we need. We’re interfacing with disparate systems."

"Customers sign the tablet and the document is instantly loaded into our enterprise system and emailed to the customer," says Norton.

"Laptops don’t allow customers to sign, tablets do."

ADT deployed the Motion Computing J3500 – a rugged Windows 7 tablet designed specifically for field work. It also has an active digitizer pen interface the allows the technicians to input information in their handwriting and also allows customers to sign on the screen.

Motion J3500

Mark Norton’s comments echo our experience with deploying tablets to companies like Rio Tinto, Newcrest Mining, Jemena, SP Ausnet, Goulburn Murray Water, Youi Insurance, Dennis Family Homes and many more. Field users require far more than a consumer tablet can offer.

There are many considerations that businesses take into account including:

  • Lack of support for existing applications (deploying remote applications to an iPad is an unworkable compromise)

  • No rugged design – Consumer tablets are not designed to be used outdoors, on building or mine sites and in rugged environments. Adding a bulky bump case does not make a consumer tablet rugged.
  • Limited input options – Consumer tablets do not support usable handwriting input. Handwriting is much faster than one handed typing on a virtual keyboard.
  • Lack of features in available apps – For example the Excel spread sheet readers like Apple’s “Numbers” do not support many formulas or any macros.
  • Cost of developing specific company apps for the next big platform  – It’s only a matter of time before Android takes over in the consumer tablet space like it is doing in the phone space. Which platform do you throw tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars at? Or do you just go with small tweaks (if needed) on your existing investment?

Thousands of companies in Australia have already deployed tablets to improve their workflow and eliminate double handling. It is good to see an article in the mainstream media presenting the less sexy side of the tablet world with some balance.

Bigmouth knows the tablet market…


No doubt about it, Apple’s iPad Tablet defined the year in technology as pointed out in this New York Times blog. 

However, as one commenter, Bigmouth from Santa Monica CA pointed out there is a large contingent of potential tablet users who want more than a consumer tablet can offer. They want to do more than browse the web (at least some of it), read emails, tweet and play games. They want to take handwritten notes, write, draw, create complex documents, presentations and spread sheets and use a full web browser.

You won’t find that out from the tech blogs, but the market tells as that there is massive demand for more.


If you’re wanting more from your mobile experience 2011 is going to be your year. It’s 12 days to CES 2011 (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas and what is coming will change the game! Stay tuned!

WRONG MOB: Windows does not belong on tablets


I don’t need to tell you that mob mentality is rife in online discussions and forums. The mob who think they know something about tablets are loudly calling for the removal of the Windows operating system from all Tablet PCs.

I am startled at how far this goes. It is rife through consumer oriented forums like where I have occasionally written some articles. I was even more surprised to read this perspective from a very well respected Tableteer Dr Conrad Blickenstorfer at Rugged PC Review. I understand Conrad’s experienced and long term view(and maybe a little well placed distaste for Microsoft) on this…

But, as far as mobs go, this ones wrong… As usual. That is because there are three major factors that are left out of the discussion of Windows and Tablet PCs.

1. Windows has a massive “app” base.

We’re talking about many millions of “apps”, not just a couple of hundred thousand with very limited use. These are fully functional rich environments from off the shelf applications to bespoke corporate and small business systems.

For the most simple example, just yesterday while I was on the road between Coffs Harbour and Grafton in NSW, I pulled out my windows 7 tablet PC, picked up 30mb of PDF files, zipped them into 3 separate packages and emailed them. A simple feat like that would be unfathomable on a consumer device, but I was able to do it on my convenient and powerful Motion J3500.

So we have a very rich environment in Windows that businesses like to take advantage of without having to rewrite all of the programs that they rely on. Granted, this will not be majorly exciting for consumers wanting to whittle their lives away playing pacifying games.

It is far more advantageous for businesses invested in Microsoft technology (95% of them) to make the rich environment of Windows more mobile than to switch to a new environment.

2. Rewriting the code is never a good idea – adapting it makes a lot of sense.

As a former software developer, I’m a big fan of Joel Spolsky’s number one rule: Never rewrite from scratch!

Rewriting windows from scratch for touch and tablets would fit right into Joel’s single worst strategic mistake category.

So Microsoft have taken the right path, and have done an excellent job adapting windows for Tablets effectively. Sure, there is still more that can be done and it no doubt will be done.

In future, Microsoft may adapt the Windows Phone 7 OS for consumer tablets too, but there will always be full Windows tablets. And it may surprise you how well Windows and Tablet PCs go together.

3. One device or platform will not fill everyone’s needs.

Much of the mob noise that is out there now is really focused around consumer tablets. Consumer tablets don’t fill the needs of most businesses very well at all – as evidenced by the hundreds of business people (short term iPad owners) that have contacted us this year looking to upgrade something that meets their needs.

On the one hand, if you wanted to show pictures to customers at a trade show or in a retail situation, the the iPad or an Android tablet would be perfect. Does the job well and cheaply.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to collect data outdoors like an insurance assessor, a park ranger, a geologist or a surveyor would, then consumer devices with glossy screens and limited “apps” and power would never do the job well.

The real future of Windows Tablet PCs

With the Windows 7 Tablet PC advancements and massive consumer focus on Tablets, the 2010 year broke all records for Tablet PCs. Our own Tablet PC sales covering all parts of Australia more than doubled. And that happened while the typical quality tablet sold for over AU$4,000. Our website visits went through the roof, and our humble YouTube channel attracted over half a million views around the world.

In 2011, you will see quality tablet devices featuring Windows 7 and the new Intel Atom Oaktrail processors opening up markets that could not afford to get in the game at $4k+. We expect to see these tablets landing in Australia for around AU$1,000.

Our prediction for Windows Tablet PCs for 2011:

  1. These devices will sell across the globe in the millions (It is estimated that there are already 5 million+ Windows tablets shipping each year)
  2. They are unlikely to cross over much with consumer slates
  3. They will eat into the market for data collection PDAs.

2010 was an exciting year for Tablet PCs in Australia, but if you are into Tablet PCs, 2011 is going to blow you away!

HP Slate Takes Aim at iPad for not running flash


HP have added some fuel to the ongoing Adobe and Apple flame wars with a new video jointly created with Adobe and spoken by one of their marketing team.

One of the things that does bug me on the iPhone is the lack of flash support. The reason that it bugs me is that it completely limits the viewing of websites like YouTube. Yes, “there is an app for that”, but as the video here points out users should not have to be thinking about apps all the time – besides the YouTube app on the iPhone is unreliable and very limited in my experience.

So with Flash Player on the HP Slate device,  I’m able to access the full web and not just a part of it. – Alan Tam, Adobe Flash Marketing

Fortunately as you will see in the following video, soon we will have a consumer oriented slate device that will support flash in the HP Slate.

After my fantastic experience with Windows 7 multi-touch on the Fujitsu T4310, T900 and HP Tm2, I think it is definitely worth passing over the iPad to wait for a real consumer slate that acts just like my PC.

Apple iPad – Apple launches sleek new tablet – Aimed at eBook reader and UMPC Market


iPad-PortfolioAustralia woke up to news this morning that the much anticipated Apple Tablet has been launched. Overturning all expectations, the Apple Tablet – for years known in some circles as a unicorn – is called the iPad and not the iSlate.

In form, the iPad is very much what Tablet users have been wanting for a long time. It is ultra-thin at just 1.3 cm thick, and weighs around 700 grams – about the same as the weight as the Viliv X70 UMPC.

iPad is based on the iPhone OS which will give the device the benefit of simplicity. Imagine the iPad like a large iPod touch with 3G options. There are no voice call capabilities, and there is no webcam. We wonder wether Google talk – famously banned from the iPhone app store for blurring the lines of the Apple / AT&T contract in the US – will be allowed on the iPad.

As long time iPhone users we know that the iPad will lack serious field input capabilities like digitiser driven handwriting recognition – which is now at least twice as fast as virtual keyboard input. That tells us that the device is squarely aimed at content consumption rather than creation.

Essentially, the iPad will make a great colour eBook reader, basic web browser (minus flash content) and email viewer. As we have experienced for many years now with UMPCs and Tablets, these features are hard to live without once you have experienced them.

From early news, some of the groundbreaking features of the iPad are:

  • Long battery life – up to 10 hours claimed
  • Access to iPhone Apps – Apparently all 140,000 of them
  • Simple, sleek, thin and light weight design.
  • Crystal clear wide viewing screen – allows up to 178 degree viewing angles – important for a good Tablet reading experience
  • Apples usual smooth multi-touch functionality
  • Great line of accessories including an attachable physical keyboard and protective portfolio case.

On early details, there is still some work to be done to bring this device to the masses:

  • On screen keyboard – Great auto correction, but frustrating to navigate to symbols and features that you would find on a normal keyboard. It appears that apple have stuck very closely to the iPhone Virtual Keyboard design Microsoft do this well in the Tablet Input Panel with quick access to localised common typing commands like .com and .au.
  • Glossy screen – Judging by the video the screen is very reflective and glossy which makes viewing difficult, particularly in common business environments like fluoro lighting and outdoors.
  • Oddly in a world awash with widescreen, the iPad has a standard aspect 4:3 screen with 1024×768 resolution.
  • No webcam.
  • No stylus, note taking or handwriting input – A pressure sensitive digitiser is more accurate and handwriting is about twice as fast as virtual keyboard input. Note taking is what makes a Tablet most useful and this is missing on the iPad.
  • No ruggedness ratings – One thing we know for sure is that even Tablets used purely at home take much more of beating over time than a laptop does. We have seen countless broken screens and peripherals. Although the device does include solid state storage, a serious field Tablet needs to be rugged to last.
  • Limited storage – storage is from 16Gb – 64Gb depending on model selected. Great for basics, but more storage is often needed.
  • No freedom – one of the biggest drawbacks of the iPhone OS is the restriction on accessing your own content like video and audio files directly. Everything must be funnelled through iTunes or the App Store, meaning that you can not just plug in your files and go like you can with a windows based Tablet.

Apple Australia’s website carries no mention of the iPad leading us to expect a long delay before we see the device in Australia. Once it does arrive though, well be sure to get one and bring you a hands on review.

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