SideXSide: Android Tablets Ready for the Enterprise?

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

Source: CIO Insight based on vendor information, July 2011

Latest Articles