SideXSide: Android Tablets Ready for the Enterprise?

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 07-08-2011 Print Email
We break down the enterprise-friendly features of three Android tablets -- the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Cisco Cius, and the Panasonic Toughbook Tablet -- to help you determine if they’re right for your business.

Some companies have been loath to bring tablets to their organizations, saying that the devices don't delivered the level of enterprise-grade quality that CIOs are after. However, Apple announced earlier this year that a large number of Fortune 500 companies are considering deploying the iPad 2 in their operations, causing speculation about whether the tide is turning toward tablets in the enterprise.

Even if the iPad 2 becomes an enterprise favorite, Android has a long way to go. Google's platform, while popular among consumers, has yet to catch on in the corporate world. And speculation abounds that the enterprise won't even consider bringing in Android tablets until the Cisco Cius is released and CIOs can finally see whether Google's operating system makes sense for corporate users.

Here, we take a look at the features of three prominent Android tablets -- the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Cisco Cius, and the Panasonic Toughbook tablet -- to help you figure out if these devices will be right for you at some point in the next year.

SideXSide: Android Tablets Ready for the Enterprise?

Features

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 

Cisco Cius

Panasonic Toughbook Tablet

Market focus

Consumer

Enterprise

Enterprise

Basic Specs

Features 10.1-inch display and options of 16GB or 32GB capacity. The device offers Wi-Fi connectivity and delivers the dual-core Tegra 2 processor with 1GB of RAM. The device is Flash-compatible and offers a front- and rear-facing camera.

Slated for release July 31, this device is more enterprise-focused than the Galaxy Tab 10.1, featuring a 7-inch display. The offering will ship with Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as 3G and 4G mobile connectivity. The device will feature front- and rear-facing cameras. It comes with eight-hour battery life.

Due out later this year, there aren't many details on this recently announced tablet. It will come with a 10.1-inch display and the ability to connect to the Web via 3G and 4G. In addition, the device will come with satellite-based GPS, and what Panasonic calls "full-shift battery life."

Enterprise Features

Doesn't necessarily offer many enterprise features. The device is lightweight and thin, good for users who require mobility. According to Samsung, it has formed relationships with prominent enterprise providers, allowing for integration with "SAP, Exchange ActiveSync, Cisco AnyConnect, Cisco WebEx, and Sybase."

It will work with existing Cisco solutions already employed in the corporate world, including TelePresence, Quad, and WebEx Meeting Center. Cisco has also integrated Cisco AnyConnect Security Mobility Client to ensure that remote connections are kept safe.

GPS functionality is a plus. Panasonic said that the platform will not come with a glossy screen, but will deliver "daylight viewable screen." Panasonic will also offer an "active stylus" with its Toughbook tablet Most importantly, it will deliver ruggedness to help improve the durability and reliability of the device.

Security Features

Relies upon Google's Android platform, which Google says, offers sandboxing and other key features that helps to keep data secure. However, keep in mind that Android has been targeted far more heavily as of late than it has been in the past, and it will continue to be a security target going forward.

Although Android-based, this device will come with several improved security features that should help protect data. As noted, the device will offer AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client to help make remote connections safe. There will also be some security features built into the modified software to help attract enterprise users.

The device will run an enterprise-focused version of Android. However, Panasonic said that it will also deliver hardware-level security to help companies safeguard data. Panasonic has yet to detail all the enterprise-friendly security that it has promised in its tablet.

Ruggedness

Not very high. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is not designed to be dropped or handled without care. A case would be a necessary addition.

Not very high. The Cisco Cius is not designed to be dropped or handled without care. A case would be a necessary addition.

A key component in the Panasonic Toughbook's value proposition is ruggedness. Users will be able to toss the device around and not necessarily worry about the safety of the device in daily use.

Productivity Concerns

The device is focused on consumers and delivers a slew of entertainment options to consumers. However, the device could be a potential productivity drain, since the device provides access to Samsung's music and media hubs. Combine that with the Android Market apps, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 might not be the best choice when it comes to productivity.

The Cisco Cius might deliver an ideal opportunity for companies to bring tablets to the enterprise without too much worry about productivity. The device will, of course, allow users to access the Web and engage in other "entertainment" activities, but IT staff should have control over the platform, allowing them to stop users from engaging in certain activities that might be a potential drain on productivity.

The Panasonic Toughbook is another enterprise-focused tablet that is trying to deliver to CIOs and IT staff the kind of control they want to ensure that employees are not engaging in activities that might be limiting their productivity. However, because the Toughbook is a tablet, it will offer other features, including Web browsing and access to programs that could have a drain on productivity. So, while IT staff might have control, it's not a guarantee.

App Availability

Quite good. Samsung is promising access to the Android Market with 200,000 available apps.

The Cisco Cius will support the Android Market, which currently has over 200,000 applications available.

Information on apps for the Panasonic Toughbook has not yet been divulged, but if the Android Market is supported, 200,000 apps will be available.

Connectivity

Wi-Fi-only for now.

Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G.

Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G.

Operating System

Android 3.1

Android 3.0

Android

Price

Starting at $499.99

Unknown

Unknown


 

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