Tablet Computing for the Home Office

Telecommuters, work at home employees or Homepreneurs need technology to work from home.  Some equipment is obvious: a computer, email, and Internet access.  Others, including accounting software packages, scanners, and firewalls are not.  Recently, Homepreneurs listed dozens of work at home and telecommuting opportunities: the postings are here, here, and here.

To work from home, software and hardware, and an Internet connection are needed.  We’ll examine each over the next few posts, provide a cost range, and websites with reviews.  In this second post, we take a look at tablet computers.

Tablets

What is a tablet?  In computer terms, a tablet computer or simply, tablet is a general purpose computer characterized by a single panel and operated by fingers or a stylus.  Tablets use integrated virtual on-screen keyboards for input, though external devices can be attached via a USB port.

Computer tablets started around 2000 when Microsoft introduced a model for use by field operations personnel.  Price, lack of features, and usability limited demand for tablets until Apple introduced the iPad in April 2010.  Though designed more for entertainment than utility, iPad sales have soared: 15 million were sold in the first three quarters of 2010.  As of early 2011, five platforms existed for tablets: iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows and HP WebOS.  Each is its own operating system with applications specifically written.

Advantages of tablets

– Light weight and low power consumption

– Portability and usability in different environments: one hand use, in bed, on phone, in field operations

– Digital painting and imaging are more precise and intuitive

– Touch screen nature makes navigation easier and faster than conventional keyboard and mouse

Disadvantages of tablets

– Input speed – aka typing – is definitely slower than with a traditional keyboard

– Smaller display than a typical laptop or LCD monitor

– Slow business sales and adoption to date

– Lack of raw processing power for heavy graphics or business applications

Price comparison

According to Tablet PC Comparison, tablets range from around $300 (Dell Streak, Acer Iconia) to over $1200 for the Asus Eee Slate.  Prices vary based on processor power, features, screen size, weight, etc.

Future Trends

“Tablets are not only here to stay, it will only be a matter of time before they have fully and finally usurped the laptop as the go-to hardware for the mobile business user. After you get past the acclimation period for the keyboard, the tablet is an amazing tool for portable business (or even casual) usage.” – Jack Wallen, Techrepublic.com

Wallen’s safe statement that time is in the Tablet’s favor is true, if somewhat disingenuous.  Tablet computers have yet to demonstrate the ability to run power applications, handle large transactional processing or databases with millions of entries.  Further, the input speed problem on the panel screen is limiting, especially for the business user.

For entertainment, a casual user or for sales presentations, tablets are likely to quickly take over the laptop market, though I would not relish daily blog entries using a tablet.  Nor would a writer I suspect, want to pound out pages of copy or fiction on an iPad.  If your business calls for limited computing with an emphasis on flashy, fun, and light-weight, a tablet computer may be exactly what you want.

By Dion Shaw

Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2011

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4 Responses to Tablet Computing for the Home Office

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