Hot Topics: Tablets are Coming, Ozzie is Going

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 10-22-2010

Hot Topics: Tablets are Coming, Ozzie is Going

Samsung announced that it will offer its iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab, beginning in November. It's the first of the numerous alternatives to Apple's iPad, including the BlackBerry PlayBook, that you'll find yourself facing in the near future. For proof of how intense the competition will be on the tablet front, look no further than the war of words between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and RIM co-CEO Jim Balsille. Apple also unveiled a new version of Mac OS X, along with an updated MacBook Air. With enterprise Mac adoption on the rise, you might want take a close look at the functionality that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion offers. Meanwhile, we're all waiting to see how the resignation of Microsoft's chief software architect Ray Ozzie's departure at Microsoft will affect the company and its products.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab

Samsung announced that its iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab, will hit store shelves on November 11 for $600. Those who plan to access 3G with the device can do so with Verizon's network. The Galaxy Tab will run Android 2.2 and boast a 7-inch display.

The CIO Insight

The idea of a tablet being a little smaller than the iPad might appeal to you. However, it's important to consider the fact that it runs Android 2.2, an operating system that Google itself has said isn't ideal for tablets. Apple CEO Steve Jobs told financial analysts during Apple's most recent earnings call that the iPad is "being grabbed out of our hands" by business users. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, meanwhile, offered a sneak peek at its upcoming PlayBook tablet during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo this week.

Apple Unveils Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage on Oct. 20 to unveil the company's latest Mac OS X update, Lion. The software, which is scheduled to hit store shelves next summer, boasts iPad-like functionality, and will include a full App Store. According to Jobs, the software is designed around Apple's desire to bring iOS-like functionality "back to the Mac."

The CIO Insight

Mac enterprise adoption is on the rise. In fact, a recent study from the Enterprise Desktop Alliance found that by the end of 2011, 69 percent of companies will have "some Macs" in their operations. Chances are, that means you're thinking seriously about bringing Macs to your company. If so, keep a close eye on Lion. It's certainly not finished, but it looks promising so far.

MacBook Air Goes Ultra-Mobile

Apple's latest MacBook Air notebook computer is decidedly mobile-focused than its predecessors. It's thin, it's lightweight, and it's ideal for users who don't need exceptional computing power, but still want to be productive. Realizing these factors, Apple updated the computer this week by offering an 11.6-inch model and reducing the base price to $999.

The CIO Insight

While its notebook form factor makes it different than a tablet, the MacBook Air is far too similar in many other ways to Apple's iPad. For example, both devices are designed for on-the-go users, and they're both relatively similar in overall computing power, based on the software they run. The starting price of a MacBook Air is about $100 more than the most expensive iPad, the iPad might be more welcome at your enterprise. In addition to the lower price point, iPad features that whiz-bang user interface and 3G connectivity option via AT&T and, soon, Verizon.

Apple, RIM: War of Words

Steve Jobs chimed in on his company's earnings call this week to take his competitors to task. In fact, Jobs said that he's not convinced that as many Android-based devices are being activated each week as Google and its vendor partners say. Jobs also said that he doesn't believe 7-inch tablets, like the Galaxy Tab or upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook, will be able to compete in the tablet market because of their reduced screen real estate. RIM co-CEO Jim  Balsillie fired back his own volley at Apple after Jobs' statements.

The CIO Insight

Steve Jobs has never been one to keep his opinions close to the vest. But his statements make us wonder if he's feeling the pressure of competition, particularly in the tablet space. True, Apple's iPad has a clear head start over any other contenders. And, arguably, smaller tablets might not provide the same benefits as the larger iPad. At the same time, Google has made strong inroads on the smartphone front, while RIM remains well entrenched in the enterprise space. The competitors can talk smack all they want, but at the end of the day it's the products, and what they can offer your organization, that matter the most. For now, iPad is in a class by itself, but that could change.

Microsoft Without Ozzie

Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, is leaving the company. With his departure, Microsoft can now close a significant chapter in its history. The question is, where does Microsoft go from here?

The CIO Insight

Debates are raging in tech circles over the impact Ozzie's departure will really have on Microsoft. Some say it will be a major loss for the firm, while others say few customers will even notice. In either case, this is something you'll want to keep a close eye on. If Microsoft follows a different vision now that Ozzie is out of the way, it could directly impact your IT decision-making in the years ahead.