The machines have taken over the world and they are now in control of people’s lives.
Sounds like a Terminator movie but I am not talking about SkyNet. I am referring to the small handheld device that controls the lives of millions of Americans. The smartphone.
From affordable models by Motorola and Samsung, to more expensive techie favorites like iPhone and Blackberry, the smartphone has become the “it” device in 2010 and 2011. It’s your organizer, computer, access to social media and the Internet, and oh… it’s also your mobile phone.
That is why it has become the ultimate business communication tool for the 21st century worker. Now that employees no longer have to be confined in the office to be productive, the smartphone’s portability and advanced features have changed the way companies do business. In fact, according to a RingCentral survey last April 2010, it is the one thing that business owners can’t live without (strangely tied with intimate relationships at 40%).
However, the same study also showed the limitations of this life-changing (controlling) device. According to the survey, even if business owners cannot live without their smartphones, majority (63%) of the respondents still choose to use their personal computer for business than their smartphones.
One of the reasons for the contradicting results is the size of these handheld devices. For once, their size has also become its disadvantage. For all the things that you can do with a smartphone, you would still have to deal with “small” issues.
Issues such as small screen and small keypad – for all the innovations the smartphone has reached as a handheld computer, it still cannot replace the personal computer. By virtue of having the bigger screen where you can create and perform presentations, the PC automatically has the advantage over the smartphone. This is probably the reason why the tablet, specifically the iPad, was developed.
Upon its launch, the iPad was hailed as the new device to have. And why not, it combines the portability of the smartphone with its slim and keyboard less design with the PC’s functionality, i.e. the wide screen.
As a result, other manufacturers have produced their own version of the tablet PC. And some tech gurus have even predicted that these innovative devices will soon replace the desktop PC. Though we have to wait and see about that, what we can be sure of is that businesses, big or small, have noticed its advantages.
In fact according to a study made by the NPD Group, 75% of small and medium scale businesses are poised to purchase more tablets for their respective companies this year. Of course, as the pioneer and the most popular tablet brand, Apple’s iPad is the one most businesses are considering.
So will the tablet overtake both the smartphone and the PC at the business communications front? Well it has all the potential to, at least for mobile businesses and employees, though it has its own limitations. The PC will not be going away yet because most businesses will still be run in a fixed office and keyboard typing is still more efficient than typing on an on-screen keyboard. In addition, the tablet is not a phone (though it can be with VoIP functions) so people will still be using their smartphones for making and receiving calls. Plus, the smartphone still beats the tablet in terms of portability; so barring the need for a wider screen, it will still be the device of choice for mobile employees.
However, with unified messaging (integration of non-real time communication tools like Internet fax, voicemail, and email), its wide screen for clearer presentations and video conferencing capabilities, the tablet gains the upper hand over both. For businesses whose profits depend on their people in the field, the tablet becomes an invaluable tool to have at their disposal.