Crowdsourcing the killer business tablet

Would-be iPad rivals should brace themselves for a splintered market -- and a need for business-minded tablet options

Last week we discussed how an iPad competitor could succeed in the tablet market -- namely, by not trying to out-Apple Apple on the UI front, and instead delivering important capabilities Apple doesn't and isn't likely to offer.

Not that you would know this was the premise of the article from most of the comments posted in response.

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As a quick review, here are the three features I used to illustrate the opportunities afforded to Apple competitors with an eye on business users:

  1. File management: What Windows Explorer does -- organize all documents into topic-related folders. It's fundamental to working productively because work is logically related by topic, not by the tool used to create it.
  2. Information management: Don't stop at documents. One tool should organize all information -- documents, emails, tasks, and individual thoughts -- in the same outline-based system, with bonus points for the ability to add the same item to multiple outlines. Everything about a topic should be found in the same place.
  3. Handwriting and speech recognition as OS-level, keyboard-alternative data-entry services: This matters most to "vertical workers" -- people who have to fill out forms, take notes, and so on while standing up, in a place that isn't their office.

Here's what various commenters had to say in response (some edited for length, none for spelling or grammar).

From counterpoint22:

Bob, one word -- OneNote, try it, it can store handwritten notes, random typed text, emails, files, and just about anything else, and it can copy/paste anything from Web pages (with a quick Ctrl+S), and it can record audio/video with synced notes and the search is killer.

Yeah but -- OneNote looks pretty and does what you say, but wastes screen real estate hideously. Compare it to an outline-based PIM like InfoSelect and you'll see what I mean.

James Cronin said:

Handwriting recognition?!


... what reason could I possibly have for writing letters by hand rather than use a perfectly good keyboard?? Mr. Lewis and the rest of the Greatest Generation did a great job against the Nazis, but I personally refuse to humor your call to return to simpler times when people had to ... draw letters by hand to form words.

I am so incensed that I have all but forgotten the other points you made in this article. More functional and intuitive filing system -- I agree.

I'm actually Vietnam-war vintage. Draw your own conclusions. I'm guessing your incensed state of mind caused you to miss that this was about vertical workers. Try typing on an iPad while standing. It's dreadful.

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