Five considerations when choosing your tablet

News: Tracey Caldwell tablets

May 01, 2013

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“It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say: ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.’”

Since Microsoft’s Bill Gates uttered these words in response to the launch of Apple’s iPad in 2010, tablet sales have increased massively. So much so that analyst firm IDC is now estimating 353m tablets will be shipped by 2017, a figure not far shy of the 382m PCs forecast to be sold in the same period.

In the past few months many rivals to the iPad have been launched and any day now we will be able get our hands on Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet aimed at businesses. So can a tablet replace a laptop – after all, the Pro runs the full Office suite?

Size matters too. The mini iPad has been a hit, catching up with the larger size iPad in terms of sales. A predicted surge of smaller, lower-priced devices in the tablet market has led IDC to increase its 2013 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 190.9m, up from its previous forecast of 172.4m units.

The iPad now faces serious challenges from Android-based tablets, which expanded their share of the market notably in 2012, and IDC expects that trend to continue in 2013. Android’s share of the market is forecast to reach a peak of 48.8% in 2013.

Businesses considering which tablet to take may be interested in predictions that Android’s gains come at the expense of Apple’s iOS, which is expected to slip from 51% of the market in 2012 to 46% in 2013.

Longer term, both iOS and Android may eventually relinquish some market share to Windows-based tablets, with Windows 8 predicted to grow from 1% of the market in 2012 to 7.4% in 2017.

5 considerations for choosing a tablet device:

  • Size matters – one in every two tablets shipped in the first quarter of 2013 was smaller than 8in screen size, according to IDC. Is a smaller, lighter device that may be held in one hand best for you, or large screen (and therefore keyboard)?
  • Productivity – if you are looking for a laptop replacement and want full Office applications, it would be worth holding out to take a look at the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet.
  • Apps – if you are interested in using the many apps available for business or perhaps even developing your own app for your business, the Apple and Google app stores have far and away more choice than any rivals.
  • Battery life – tablets are designed to be used on the move. So it is no good if the battery runs out halfway through a day out of the office. Google Nexus and iPad batteries are reported to last quite a bit longer than the Surface.
  • Price – Google Nexus 7 with mobile data comes in at £239, while the Apple mini is £269. The larger iPad with Retina display starts at £399 while the larger Nexus 10 does not yet have mobile network connectivity. At the time of writing UK pricing on the Surface Pro had yet to be announced but it is rumoured that it will start at around £775. Other business tablets include Dell Latitude 10, the HP ElitePad 900, Samsung Galaxy Note, Asus Transformer Pad Infinity and the low price BlackBerry PlayBook.

Think technology, Think Tracey Caldwell. As an experienced business technology journalist who writes for radio, newspapers, as well as various IT journals and publications, Tracey continues to provide insightful articles for Moneypenny.