With more than 25 million iPads sold during the device's first 15 months (according to this year's WWDC keynote address), there's no doubt that Apple has been the early winner in the tablet wars. However, while the iPad (and Android tablets) may be popular among individual buyers, for companies that have standardized on Windows, they could be a problem.
"Businesses have a lot invested in Windows software," says Jeff Orr, mobile devices group director at ABI Research. "The cost of starting from scratch to build new programs for the iPad or Android tablets can be exorbitant."
For example, if you're using an iPad, you can't work with Word, Excel or PowerPoint (although there is a rudimentary version of Photoshop). Approximately the same situation exists with Android-based tablets.
Another concern of businesses -- and the reason they may want something other than a media-centric consumer tablet -- is security. Some current Windows 7 tablets offer fingerprint scanners, smart card readers (smart cards are often used to identify a client and authenticate it for acceptance on a secure corporate network) and/or a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. "Security is a key concern, and these items are must-haves for companies," says Orr. "They are not available on any media tablet. It's not what they're all about."
One feature that is useful for businesses but not included with an iPad or most current Android tablets is a stylus. With it, you can illustrate your point at a meeting, make corrections directly on blueprints and fill out an online form more precisely.