Tablets: Productivity Tool or Toy?
By Adam Elhassen, Global Services Development Manager, Xerox Global Document Outsourcing; Enterprise Print Services
There is no question that tablets are hot items these days. Manufacturers are making them more and more accessible to even the most budget conscious consumer. Bottom line, tablets are everywhere – offices, homes, restaurants and more. Tablets seem to be the most recent answer to the growing demand for a lightweight, mobile way to stay connected. And honestly with a load of flashy features, increased screen sizes, resolutions and visual designs, they are slick! But have tablets truly established themselves as a productivity tool or are they more of a lightweight and portable convenience toy?
For me, I’m one of the budget conscious consumers I mentioned above that was stuck on the entertainment element of a tablet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m smitten by tablets, but struggle with justification based on an occasional internet search or larger screen for me to play scrabble with friends and sling shot those angry ‘feather friends’ around the world. The practical voice in me looks at the ever-growing project list I’ve got at home – a needed kitchen remodel, a driveway resurface or the tree fort that would be so much fun for the little punks! So, I couldn’t prove to myself that I needed one, but man did I want one!
The tablet pendulum swung away from a convenient toy, to a must-have productivity tool when I realized I had (note I say ‘had’) a problem – too many notebooks, which equaled too many complexities. When I had to start flagging pages for reference, retyping handwritten notes and then having to contemplate which notebook to carry with me to meetings, I knew I was ready for a shift.
That was my tipping point. I started researching various writing instruments and even full digital note taking solutions. I quickly realized that the quality solutions were not a low cost purchase and had an added problem – they only do one thing, take notes. As you can imagine, my attention shifted to the tablet .
I found that Apple has a blended mix of available applications and while a fair share focus on the enterprise & productivity, it seems the majority of apps would fall within a ‘recreational’ category. Does this imply that the majority of users want tablets for recreation or are tablet vendors and app developers missing a target audience?
Mobile users need help staying connected – accessing their e-mail and calendars, taking and distributing notes, interacting with presentations, accessing, storing and printing documents, sketching concepts, browsing the internet, remote servers, applications, and more. Perhaps the limited availability of quality productivity apps is a reflection of corporations’ uncertainty to embrace tablets and the cloud architecture that these enterprise productivity tools may need to leverage?
For me, I realized that my need for a tablet was not new, just not fully appreciated until I had a specific and immediate demand. With a new found purpose, I began my targeted search and discovered various note taking apps, one of which has met my needs perfectly. And now, with the need for digital notes as my springboard, I’m traveling from meeting to meeting a lot lighter with immediate access to all my notes, mail, calendar, printers, remote servers and yes…the occasional game with friends!
What are your experiences and thoughts around tablet use and how they are shifting from recreational convenience to productivity tool?