The challenge for IT management is no longer whether to deploy mobile technologies but how to do it successfully. The proliferation and convergence of mobile form factors, together with increasingly blurred lines between consumer and enterprise technologies have made it increasingly difficult for IT decision makers to identify the right computing devices to deploy across the workforce. However, what is becoming abundantly clear, following a recent IDC White Paper, commissioned by Panasonic, is that the detachable is fast becoming the form factor of choice for the enterprise.
The new paper suggests that 2017 will finally be the tipping point when hybrid devices (detachables and convertibles) account for more than half (52 per cent) of the tablets shipped to enterprises in the UK, France and Germany. Indeed, while the slate form factor has dominated the market until recently, a growing mobile workforce is driving a strong need for keyboards to perform productivity or content creation tasks across all verticals when outside the office walls.
So, while enterprise demand is increasing for all tablet form factors, purchase intentions among enterprises show a clear acceleration in the rate at which detachables and convertibles are being deployed. The reason for this is that new generations of enterprise grade convertible and detachable devices now have top-of-the-range business specs and similar processing capabilities to traditional notebooks. Take for example Panasonic’s latest offerings, the CF-33 and FZ-Q2. These have been designed to reflect the European market demand for hybrid mobile devices. Both are detachables, offering the best of both worlds with tablet and notebook functionality in a single business device.
Additionally, both devices are purpose built to bring organisations the flexibility and ease of use they desire but with the reliability and business-ready design they require to deliver a significant return on their investment. These hybrid form factors can combine the advantages of clamshell notebooks with the benefits of mobile devices in a single platform and will ultimately be used to replace traditional notebooks as the primary and only computing device rather than in addition to them thereby helping to reduce IT costs and complexities.
Taking this one step further, with almost half of the respondents in IDC’s Tablet in Enterprise survey citing that a screen size range of between 12 and 13.3 inches was best to facilitate easy execution of productivity tasks, both devices also have screen displays within this screen size sweet spot.
The Form Factor of the Future
When organisations are determining which device best fit their requirements, they should be aware that tablet slates, detachables, and convertibles meet different enterprise needs, so form factor choices should be driven by strategic considerations.
In general, tablet slates are more appropriate when touch is going to be the prevalent input method for the applications used on the device. The usage scenarios for tablet slates should also involve light productivity or content creation and editing tasks that can be supported satisfactorily by digital keyboards.
Detachables and convertibles, on the other hand, are more suitable when the tablet user is highly mobile but at the same time needs a physical keyboard to carry out productivity tasks, whether for data entry or content creation purposes, and when the user requires a quick transition from the field or floor to a full desktop computing experience.
Ultimately the key consideration for organisations should be on selecting the right device which is fit for purpose to meet their business needs.
Between traditional form factors such as notebooks and desktops, and mobile devices such as smartphones and handhelds, detachables and convertibles, emerge as the ideal platform to leverage digital capabilities across a range of mobile environments, providing the productivity of traditional computing devices together with the mobility and connectivity features required in this new age of digital transformation.
One final yet fundamental consideration is that tablets intended to be used for business purposes should be tablets that are built for business. The temptation to rely on consumer devices should be resisted. In certain scenarios, only enterprise-grade hardware complemented by the appropriate features and applications will be able to successfully achieve your company’s business objectives.