If you have watched TV or talked to a human in 2010 you know the general buzz and “coolness” factor of the iPad. The question I have been getting more lately is to compare the iPad with a Netbook. Some might say its not a fair comparison but from a business standpoint both have around a $500 price point at their lowest and both aim to provide fast access to your data with long battery life.
So lets compare:
Advertised at 10hrs, real life usage about 8hrs
Average is around 3-4hrs
iOS 4.0 (same as iPhone) can only load apps from App Store
Can run Windows or Linux and install any application
Onscreen or Bluetooth Keyboard
Typical Laptop Keyboard condensed
Instant On reboot is around 10 seconds
5-10 seconds from a sleep/hibernate. Reboot 20-30 seconds
Starts at $499 for wifi only version
Starts at $249 up to $999 depending on OS and specs
As you can see there is no clear “Winner” the answer to which device is best for your business depends on the specific needs of your users and applications. If the instant On and battery life of the iPad is a requirement for walking around and meeting patients than the iPad is your winner. If you need Windows to run that mobile application or Internet Explorer for that one key web application than you need a Windows Netbook.
Don’t forget about the Linux netbook as an option. Linux offers better battery life and performance for basic web usage. You can still Remote Desktop to your windows machines or use Logmein if you need Windows without the worry of Windows Update or Antivirus holding your ATOM processor down. My favorite is by a long time Linux company System 76 (http://bit.ly/hZHXi1). If you haven’t tried Linux in a while take a look again at how far Ubuntu has come in the consumer market.
Windows, Linux or Apple give us a call to find out which is right for your business and your application challenges.
Amazon’s Kindle went on the offensive recently on their e-reader vs. the iPad. Amazon’s kindle was arguably the first real mainstream successful e-reader. Leveraging their sizable market position in book sales online. They took their content ability to a device. Now in its 3rd generation it continues to get cheaper and the text more clear. The iPad is really what I would call a converged device. The iPad tells you that you don’t want to carry multiple devices and that this unit can be your e-reader/laptop/ipod. The challenge with converged devices is often “jack of all trades, master of none” applies. In the recent TV campaign Kindle takes its shot at the iPad on one of these traits, a glossy screen. Glossy screens are critical to the iPad to reduce finger print show and to make videos and games brighter. The flip side is in direct sunlight this type of screen will perform poorly and may even be near impossible to see.
So when selecting a device for you, ask yourself what you think you will use it for the most and select that device. If you want the convenience of an all-in-one product then make sure you know the trade offs.
I’ve been going through lots of the information on the iPad since its release and here’s my very simple take: it’s really cool, possibly even groundbreaking, but it doesn’t have a place in the business world. Yet. Here’s why…
No keyboard/mouse. Touch screens are amazing multimedia devices. But for typing documents, responding to e-mail, or working within your business application they’re not nearly as productive as a good ol’ keyboard & mouse. And really, what else do you use a computer for in business?
Integration. Integration is powerful stuff for business these days. Those that have it, love it. Those who don’t are trying to get it. Not enough integration on the iPad as it stands today.
Marketing. I don’t think the iPad is really being sold as a business device. Oh, I could be wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time), but other than being really cool, what business advantage does it provide? Ease of use? Probably, but what else? Not much, I’m afraid.
Okay, so let’s be clear about something – I’m not knocking the iPad. I think it’s innovative and well designed. And for personal use, I think it’s fantastic. In the business world, however, it doesn’t provide any real advantage over the existing toolset. I will say this though, I once said the same thing about the iPhone and over time the folks at Apple proved me wrong. If I were to be completely honest here, I guess I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong again.
Let’s face it – for most business professionals, their phone is no longer just a phone. In fact the “phone” functionality is, oddly enough, becoming less and less important as a feature. More important to business users now is integration with business applications, ease of use, e-mail compatibility, and wireless synchronization. Take the iPhone for example. Through the multiple iterations of the OS, users have remained stubbornly loyal even though the phone service itself was quite poor (a result of AT&T’s service in my opinion). With the pending release of OS 4.0 for the iPhone, there’s no doubt that Apple will once again make significant improvements on an already excellent product. Now that the Droid has been released and appears to be holding its own within the market, the market has gotten even tighter for all competitors. Add to the mix the new Windows Series 7 phone slated for release near the end of the year and the world of phones has clearly grown far more complicated (and interesting) than it was just a few years ago. So, what does this all mean to us, the business professionals, and moreover, what does this mean for Blackberry (RIM), the once “default” phone for business people? Of course, no one knows for sure, but I’ve got a few predictions…
Blackberry’s antiquated pricing model and architecture that requires server software be installed on your network will be a thing of the past. With all the other manufacturers providing functionality without the extra piece of software (or cost) this whole “Blackberry Enterprise Server” nonsense has to go away, doesn’t it? I say it does – at least for small and medium businesses.
The iPhone will continue to gain market share. Apple just has too big of a lead on some of the other competitors and the “brains” at Apple have been exceptionally successful at addressing the business world’s needs. The only thing that will hold Apple back will be AT&T. Anyone hear rumors of a deal with Verizon? Anyone?
The Windows phone will do well, but feel some of the pain any new system/software does. Be prepared for very cool, yet sometimes irritating, and an overall lukewarm experience.
The Droid will hang tough, but find it becomes old news very quickly in this ever changing market. Speed is the need in this fickle market.
Ultimately, I think the innovation within the market will continue to grow – possibly far beyond the true needs of users today (in case we aren’t already there). I think the differences between the platforms, however, that will begin to dwindle, with each manufacturer stealing the others quality concepts and good ideas. At the end of the day, I think it will be a benefit to all, providing us with better, more adaptable phones – and we’ll enjoy more choices than ever before.
Okay, okay, so this isn’t directly related to legal technology, but it is interesting. Tech Republic is a great source for all things “tech” and it’s no surprise that’s exactly where I found the article. Take a look at it…just for fun if nothing else.
Microsoft’s long awaited “Windows Home Server” has finally been released – at least as an OEM software product. It is now available for purchase from a number of online retailers. This means that the full systems shouldn’t be far behind (Windows Home Server pre-installed on various systems, including the HP MediaSmart Home Server).
The product was announced back in January of 2007, but has been in development for a couple years. The platform is Microsoft’s attempt to develop an easy-to-use media server and backup system for home networks. The initial offerings from HP include two systems with the pre-installed software – one with 500 gigabytes of storage, the other with 1 terabyte.
At its core, Windows Home Server is a shared network device that may be accessed on a home network, as well as over the Internet. This allows users to store video, pictures, music, etc. in a centralized location. In addition, it provides centralized management for remote desktop access (similar in some ways to Small Business Server). Microsoft has attempted to make the setup for sharing data over the Internet easy using its recently launched Windows Live service.
The other major selling point is the built-in backup. Although the technical documentation is not available online yet, Microsoft indicates that that the backup will be automated (to run daily by default), and will allow quick restoration of individual files and even entire systems for connected computers.
Much more information is available on Microsoft’s website at the link referenced above.
What is the best gift you can give a guy? How about a cell phone back up drive? These nifty little devices are compatible with a number of cell phones and can be plugged into your computer with a USB connection. You can find one version at www.redenvelope.com (I am sure you can find them in other techy stores and I am sure the price ranges will vary drastically). Also, RedEnvelope always has an option to add a gift box for $5; they dress up a gift like nothing else can. Their gift boxes are awesome – think Tiffany-quality gift boxes. This is a great gift for the guy who has everything and is at least a little tech savvy. Perfect gift found!
Microsoft recently released the next revision for the SBS product. Despite the mixup with the release causing delays, the new release adds some nice new functionality. Although SBS 2003 is a solid product packed with features and the new feature set in R2 is not that extensive, Microsoft hit the nail on the head with the new features. The new feature set includes green check of health, exchange changes, SQL server changes and expanded CAL rights.
The Green Check of Health is actually WSUS bundled with and integrated into SBS 2003 R2. This is not like the typical free WSUS product you can download and administer yourself (and then never use) - instead you’ll access a feature in Server Management called Update Services. This features solves the headache of manually making sure (or just hoping) all machines are updated with the latest patches. Software updates for all of your connected systems are stored locally on the SBS server and issued according to schedule and administrator approval. In addition there is a report showing the status of all computers on the network so you can see at a glance whether SBS and all its connected clients are up to date with the latest patches and security updates.
SBS R2 includes the 75GB mail store limit for Exchange (increasing from 16GB in previous versions). Although you can manually change this on existing Exchange servers with Exchange SP2, installing SP2 is not the simplest task. This is a blessing most people cannot appreciate. Even in small businesses the 16GB limit may not be enough and setting up different storage groups or getting users to constantly clean their mailboxes and defragging the Exchange databases is a real hassle due to the insuffient size limit.
SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition has been replaced with SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition. This has caused alot of controversy but in reality it benefits the customer. In truth, SQL Server 2005 Workgroup edition is more closely matched in features to SQL Server 2000 Standard than SQL Server 2005 Standard due to all of the changes in SQL Server 2005. The inclusion of SQL Server 2005 Workgroup edition enabled Microsoft to price SBS 2003 R2 at a lower cost than its previous version which may allow for more customers to choose the Premium edition of SBS.
Previously, each user or device connecting to a SBS needed to have a CAL, but the CAL was only applicable to that one server. So if a second server was added they would have to purchase additional CALs for any user or device that connected to the new server. Microsoft has changed the CAL so that it covers an additional Windows Server. So as a business grows and needs to offload functionality to a second server (SQL Server, Exchange…) additional CALs are not required saving the business money.
SBS server has proven to be a great product with its feature rich and easy to use environment. With the release of SBS R2 Microsoft has only added to the continued success of the product.