Tag Archives: Tablets

Windows 8 Tablets Ready for the Enterprise

This is a perfect follow-up to my posts last week – Comparing 3 Windows Tablets & Will the Windows 8 naysayers step aside, please.    On March 14, 2013, Moor Insights & Strategy (about) published a whitepaper that provides great insights into the enterprise readiness of Windows 8.

I provided the direct link to the PDF below; however, I included the entire contents in this blog for an easier review.


Moor Insights and Strategy

Download the PDF from the Moor Insight & Strategy website.

 

The Latest Extreme Low Power, Windows Tablets Now Ready for the Enterprise

Apple iPad’s Three Year Enterprise Advantage Marginalized

Abstract

The introduction of Apple’s iPad sent shock waves through the industry as it redefined end user’s expectations on design, battery life, simplicity, content and applications. Like PC purchases driven by end users and departments in the late 1980’s, iPads first entered the enterprise through executives, departments and end users. Apple added basic enterprise features and let third parties add incremental support. At the time, enterprises did not have a viable alternative, so they started to test and deploy iPads even with the incremental cost, time and complexity. This paper looks at the latest generation of enterprise tablets from HP, Dell and Lenovo and assesses their value enterprise proposition versus Apple’s iPad.

Historical Tablets Challenges in the Enterprise

Tablets in the enterprise have gained immensely in popularity over the last two years, driven by Apple’s iPad, but they are not a new phenomenon. The first Microsoft Windows enterprise tablet was launched in 1991 by NCR with Windows for Pen Computing. What followed were multiple design iterations based on every successive version of Windows, including Windows XP PC Tablet Edition, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

None of these Windows tablets over the 22 year span became popular or drove much volume within the 100s of millions of PCs. Motion Computing has had reasonable success in vertical markets due primarily to their ruggedness in harsh environments outside the office and through special designs for healthcare. Why didn’t these Windows-based tablets ever improve in popularity?

Following were the key challenges that led to the lack of mass success of Windows based tablets in the enterprise:

User Interface: Since Windows for Pen Computing arrived in 1991 and Windows 7, the basic interface for the tablet was the same. Users needed a pen to best interact with the device. Windows was designed to be manipulated with a fine grain tool like a mouse, not a finger. Early versions required a tethered pen and did not even support palm rejection, which made user interaction more difficult. also, due to the thickness of the display, it was hard to orient accurately. The pen worked well in check-box and signature applications, but not much else. The pen was a major user interface stumbling block for mass adoption.

Dimensions and weight: Most Windows tablets were very thick compared to today’s iPad. They could easily be an inch thick, weigh nearly as much or more than a PC due to larger batteries and thick glass. This translated to the need for shoulder straps or special carrying handles. This made general productivity use inconvenient and awkward.

Battery Life: Battery life is more important for an enterprise tablet than a notebook. This is for two reasons. First, if a tablet is used in a customer service environment, running out of batteries and plugging the device in is unacceptable. This could mean missing the sale or leaving the patient. Because these devices were basically PCs, their battery life was equivalent to the best PCs of their time. That meant users could get about two to three hours on a single charge. When they ran out, they either plugged in or replaced their battery.

Durability: Tablets need to be more rugged than a notebook. This is driven by a few factors. First, many tablets are used in environments where dropping it means dropping on a pile of rocks or a cement floor versus the office carpet. Also, the likelihood of dropping it is higher because in vertical environments, users are holding it above a surface for the duration of their use. Design was a challenge too. Early tablets used real glass previous to Corning’s Gorilla Glass. Because tablets had not keyboard to protect the display, they were more likely to be damaged if dropped.

Price: All things equal, Windows tablets were much more expensive than their notebook brethren, priced between $1,500 and $3,000. This made sense because these tablets needed to be more rugged, used smaller components, used more expensive thermal solutions, needed a touch controller and of course the pen.

Looking back at the first 22 years of enterprise tablets, it is easy now to see why they did not enjoy widespread adoption. They were expensive, frustrating, and fragile devices.

iPads in the Enterprise

Looking at the shortcomings of previous Windows-based tablets compared to an iPad, it is easy to comprehend why iPads would be desirable by an executive, knowledge worker, or department head.The iPad addressed many of the shortcomings of early Windows tablets as it has a touch-optimized operating system and apps, is extremely thin and light, has impressive battery life and a low $499- $799 acquisition cost. The iPad does bring additional requirements to the enterprise and I address that later in this paper.

While Apple is traditionally very secretive in guarding information outside of sales data, the company has been very vocal on announcing just how many enterprises are evaluating or deploying the iPad. In fact, at many major public outings, Apple CEO Tim Cook has done just that. In Apple’sQ2 2012 earnings call, Cook said the iPad was enjoying “rapid adoption” and the number of iPad tablets was than tripling among Fortune 500 companies. Cook went on to say that 94 percent of the Fortune 500 and 75 percent of the Global 500 testing or deploying iPads.

Those are impressive stats when taken at face value. What would be more helpful, though, is for Apple to declare the exact amount of the number of enterprise shipments. While specific enterprise sales numbers aren’t available from Apple, there is access to “deals” that have been publicized. SAP even has a running tally on Forbes of the largest iPad deployments. Readers should be careful in interpreting this data as it typically measure the forecasted deal size which is rarely the real number, which is typically lower and over many years.

D) Additional Requirements for iPad Enterprise Rollouts

Consumer and enterprise requirements are quite different on security, deployment, manageability, uptime, support, training, and the total cost of ownership. Every single Fortune 1,000 company has developed and invested in staff, resources, process, software and services to manage every element of those variables above.

Just because an enterprise wants to deploy iPads doesn’t mean that they can skip any step in the process. Therefore, enterprises who want to deploy iPads must have a duplicate method to manage iPad security, deployment, management, service, support and training. Some of these are leveraged by phones but not many. This translates into increased investments in time, resources and complexity. To highlight what I mean, let me use some very simple examples.

Security: In a typical Windows enterprise deployment, IT already has the tools to encrypt device storage with BitLocker, restrict apps installed, and provide conditional access to confidential data through group policies. When IT rolls out iPads, they need to buy additional software, hardware or services to accomplish the same thing.

Software: By the iPad’s short lifespan, all proprietary enterprise apps that the user needs to run on their tablet needs to be rewritten, as those apps were written in Windows or DOS. These are apps that give access to areas like human resources, manufacturing, point of sale, and financial data. Some apps that access services based on SAP, for example, are a matter of modifying the shell for iOS, but it is still new software development.

Productivity software is another matter. Microsoft Office is the enterprise gold standard for productivity and while rumored, the iPad run it. This means users need to buy and learn how to use these new office productivity applications.

There are issues with these apps. Typically they don’t support even some of the most basic features like annotating or macros. Also, there is not a 100% visual translation between Office file formats and the iPad alternatives and content frequently looks different, particularly in Word and Powerpoint. This creates more work getting those files to look like they are intended and also can lead to communication challenges because workers are looking at different content with the same file name. This is why so many people export to a PDF format if they want iPad viewing.

Peripheral Compatibility: The iPad was designed for simplicity, and one way simplicity was achieved was by limiting supported hardware peripherals and eliminating ports. This poses a challenge in the enterprise which has invested capital in peripherals. These are peripherals like laser printers, receipt printers, scanners, card swipers, fingerprint authentication, and smart cards. There are different ways to accomplish these with the iPad but it either involves purchase of a new peripheral or some kind of inefficient workaround.

Management: Once iPads are secured and deployed, they need to be managed. For PCs, most enterprises have already adopted Microsoft’s SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager), Windows InTune or another tool they’ve been using for years. Anything additional for use with iPads adds investigation and research time, test, training and deployment resources.

Repair: The iPad was primarily designed for consumers, secondarily for businesses, and design trade-offs were made that negatively impact repair. Anecdotally, we have all either experienced breaking an iPad ourselves or knowing someone who has broken one. It can be as simple as dropping it. The challenge with the iPad 3 and beyond designs is that the display is not serviceable. This means when an enterprise iPad display cracks, it gets thrown away or alternatively is fixed by a small, independent fixit shop. This also applies to the iPad’s circuit board and battery. The battery is of particular challenge in that the device use will outweigh the battery longevity. IT does not like to throw away hardware and they do not like to throw away their iPads either.

Enterprise IT can and are deploying iPads but are doing so at an increased cost, time and complexity than PCs.

Disruptive Enterprise Tablet Technologies

Enterprise has made the sacrifices above to get the benefits of the iPad because since iPad inception, a viable alternative did not exist. Two technologies are now available that will disrupt iPad tablet dominance in the enterprise, Intel’s Atom Processor Z2760, code named “Clover Trail”, and Microsoft Windows 8 Operating System.

Microsoft Windows 8

Windows 8 maintains compatibility with Windows 7 software, services and hardware peripherals. It added support for USB 3, Secure Boot with UEFI, built-in virus and malware protection, and new refresh functionality. Windows 8 operates both in a tablet-optimized mode with Metro-style apps and in desktop mode with traditional apps used with keyboard and mouse. Windows 8 has been available to enterprises, developers and OEMs since approximately since September 2011 and was released to manufacturing a year later in August, 2012.

Intel Atom Processor Z2760

Intel announced the Atom Processor Z2760 in September 2012 after a three year development cycle and after ODMs and OEMs received first samples a year prior.

The Atom Z2760 uses a custom, two core, four thread design based on the “Penwell” core, used in Intel-based smartphones. It is based on the X86 instruction set and therefore will run the latest Windows 8 Metro-style and all Windows 7 applications.

To the surprise of many in the industry, independent reviewers like AnandTech showed that at a minimum, the Z2760 provided at least the same system performance per watt and in some use cases, surpassed iPads. This was best exemplified in Anand Lal Shimpi’s analysis entitled, The x86 Power Myth Busted: In Depth Clover Trail Power Analysis. It showed that Atom Z2760 tablets provide better battery life versus the iPad 4 in web browsing. We recommend that enterprises do their own battery life tests for their planned use cases and deployments.

New Breed of Enterprise Tablets

Through the combination of Intel Clover Trail and Windows 8, HP, Dell and Lenovo have created tablets that take the best the consumer elements of the iPad and adds to it enterprise features IT wants in their next generation tablets. We will break down the comparison, variable by variable.

Design and Display

Apple iPad 4

9.4mm thin, 652g, aluminum design, 9.7”, 2048×1536 resolution, 4:3 ratio

Dell Latitude 10

10.5mm thin, 658g, magnesium alloy design, 10.1”, 1366×768 resolution, 16:9 ratio

HP ElitePad 900

9.2mm thin, 630g, aluminum design compliant with Mil-Spec 810g,

10.1”, 1280×800 resolution, 16:10 ratio

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

9.8mm thin, 565g, plastic design compliant with Mil-Spec 810f, 10.1”, 1366×768 resolution, 16:10 ratio

Bottom Line: The new breed of enterprise tablets can be configured thinner and lighter, are more durable and are as design conscious as the iPad 4. Displays are larger with lower resolution and PPI (Pixels Per Inch).

Battery and Battery Life

Apple iPad 4

Apple replaceable, 42.5Whr; Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music

Dell Latitude 10

End user replaceable, 30Whr/60Whr; Up to 10/20 hours browsing the web. Battery life doubles with high capacity battery option.

HP ElitePad 900

Enterprise replaceable/end user replaceable, 25Whr/50Whr; Up to 10/20 hours battery life. Battery life doubles with Smart Jacket.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Enterprise replaceable, 30Whr; 25 days Connected Standby, 150 MP3 playback, 10hrs Video streaming

Bottom Line: The new breed of enterprise tablets base battery life is competitive and can be configured to last twice as long as the iPad 4. (Note: Battery figures are displayed as standard/optional. HP has fixture for enterprises to quickly replace display and PCB.)

Expandability

Apple iPad 4

Std.- mini jack, Lightning

Adapter- camera, SD camera reader, VGA, HDMI

Dell Latitude 10

Std.- mini jack, dock, USB, SD

Dock- 4xUSB, HDMI, RJ45 10/100/1000

HP ElitePad 900

Std.- mini jack, dock

Expansion Jacket- 2xUSB, HDMI, HCSD

Dock-4xUSB, HDMI, VGA, RJ45 10/100

Adapters- SD, USB, HDMI/VGA, RJ45, Serial

Lenovo

ThinkPad

Tablet 2

Std.- USB, miniHDMI, microSD, docking, mini jack

Dock- 3xUSB, HDMI, audio, mic, RJ45 10/100 Adapter- VGA

Bottom Line: The new breed of enterprise tablets provides more baseline expandability and even more expandability with optional manufacturer-supported accessories.

OEM Supported Enterprise Features

Apple iPad 4

Std.- Encryption, Sandboxing, App Signing, Data Protection Classes, VPN, EAS, Digital Certificates. Many features require MDM.

Dell Latitude 10

Std.- TPM 1.2 or Intel PTT, optional fingerprint and smart card reader, Intel PTT,

Dell Data Protection & Encryption, Dell KACE, Chassis lock, Active Directory, Domain Join, multi-user login, VPN, EAS, SCCM

HP ElitePad 900

Std.- HP Client Security, Security Manager, Credential Manager, VPN,

Password Manager, Device Access manager, Computrace, SpareKey, Drive

Encryption, HP BIOS Settings, Active Directory, Domain Join, multi-user login, VPN, EAS, SCCM, TPM

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Std.- Image Ultra Builder, System Migration Assistant, Hardware Password

Manager, Secure Data Disposal, Rescue and Recover, BitLocker, Applocker, TPM, Computrace, Active Directory, Domain Join, multi-user login, VPN, EAS, SCCM, TPM

Bottom Line: The new breed of enterprise tablets provides the same comprehensive PC enterprise features deployed and already in use by enterprises. While the iPad provides many new features, enterprise must evaluate, deploy, train IT and purchase new tools. Domain Join and Active Directory are not supported on the iPad.

Software, IDE, and Hardware Compatibility

Apple iPad 4

iOS; iOS apps via touch and keyboard; new apps typically developed with Apple Xcode; camera kit, Apple AirPlay certified wireless printers

Dell Latitude 10

HP ElitePad 900

Lenovo Tablet

Windows 7 and 8; Metro-style, Windows, DOS apps via touch, mouse, keyboard, trackpad, and pen; new apps typically developed with MS Visual Basic 2013; over 1M compatible peripherals

Bottom Line: The new breed of enterprise tablets supports new touch-based scenarios with known IDE (integrated development environment) while supporting full backward compatibility with legacy peripherals and software. iPads require new apps written with new IDEs and do not support legacy OSX apps and hardware.

Typical Configured List Price (64GB/WiFi) with OEM supported Peripherals

Apple iPad 4

$799 plus mgmt tools and training- $699 plus $49 Smart Case; $49 HDMI

Dell Latitude 10

$688 plus MLM- $649 with Windows 8 Pro plus $39 Soft Touch Case

HP ElitePad 900

$959 plus MLM- With Dock, Expansion Jacket and Windows 8 Pro

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

$779 plus MLM- $679 with Pen and Digitizer plus $50 Windows 8 Pro, $49 Slim Case

Bottom Line: Enterprises will not pay more to acquire the new breed of Windows tablets and when factoring in additional new management tools, iPads cost more. (Note: Enterprises rarely pay list price.)

F) Conclusion and Call to Action

Apple’s iPad ushered in a new breed of tablet computing that captured the imagination of consumers and businesses and reshaped the entire computing industry. Introduced in 2010, the iPad had a three year head start in the enterprise where it was the only choice for a reasonably-priced, thin tablet with exceptional battery life. Driven by executives, end users and departments, enterprises evaluated, piloted, and deployed iPads in measured numbers and dealt with the new expenses and processes that came with them.

Since then, Microsoft and Intel introduced Windows 8 and Clover Trail technologies that enabled OEMs to develop and deliver a new breed of tablets that simultaneously met the end user and enterprise IT’s needs. End users want style, simplicity and convenience and IT needs security, provisioning, manageability, deployment, support and service that is consistent with their current infrastructure for the lowest lifecycle cost.

Enterprise tablets now exist that provide the best of both worlds between end user and IT, which puts the Apple in a precarious position of needing to add more robust enterprise features. Until that point, Moor Insights & Strategy recommends enterprises re-evaluate their iPad pilots and deployments. Enterprises should immediately evaluate the latest enterprise tablet offerings from HP, Dell and Lenovo and make their decisions on future deployments incorporating those additional options.

Resources

Apple iPad in Business IT Center, Apple

Apple iPad 4 Specifications, Apple

Windows InTune, Microsoft

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft

HP ElitePad 900 Specifications, HP

Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 Specifications, Lenovo

Dell Latitude 10 Specifications, Dell

Tablets in large enterprises: Dell Latitude 10 with Windows 8 vs. Apple iPad, Principled Technologies

Tablets in healthcare: Dell Latitude 10 with Windows 8 vs. Apple iPad, Principled Technologies

Tablets in schools: Dell Latitude 10 essentials configuration with Windows 8 vs. Apple iPad, Principled Technologies

Tablets in the Enterprise: Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership,Principled Technologies

______________________________________________________________

Author

Patrick Moorhead, Principal Analyst and contributions from Paul Teich, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy

Inquiries

Please contact us at the email address above if you would like to discuss this report and Moor Insights & Strategy will promptly respond.

Licensing

Creative Commons Attribution: Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on this paper only if Patrick Moorhead and Moor Insights & Strategy are credited.

Disclosures

No employees at the firm hold any equity positions with any vendor mentioned in this study.

DISCLAIMER

The information presented in this document is for informational purposes only and may contain technical inaccuracies, omissions and typographical errors.

©2013 Moor Insights & Strategy.

Company and product names are used for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Filed under All, Core Infrastructure, Reference, Windows

Will the Windows 8 naysayers step aside, please?

[Updated to include additional Case Study per reader recommendations]

Twice a day, I try to check the internet blog-o-sphere to get a perspective on trends, thoughts, and posts related to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.  It is amazing to see the diversity (the love AND the hate) towards the new Windows 8 operating system.  Even before the actual release of Windows 8, the naysayers started filling the web with their blogs on how Windows 8 will not succeed.

At first, I was a little bothered by these posts.  But as of late, I find many of them quite amusing.  I think the reason that I find entertainment in reading many of these articles is that I firmly believe these “blog experts” haven’t taken the time to actually dig into the new capabilities.  It is also completely contrary to my experiences when I deliver a presentation or demo at a convention or business forum; or when I’m discussing Windows 8 for large enterprise organizations.  I find when you take the time to demonstrate the differences and improvements, people seem genuinely enthused. 

With any change, there is a slight learning curve.  It is this change that I believe has many in the blog-o-sphere taking advantage of people’s tendency to embrace the status quo.

Let this sink in (read it twice):

“This new version of Windows is a disaster. Power users can’t wait to replace the UI, and businesses are avoiding it like the plague.” – Ed Bott

I only took a portion of Ed Bott’s quote.  Read it in its entirety:

“This new version of Windows is a disaster. Power users can’t wait to replace the UI, and businesses are avoiding it like the plague. I’m talking, of course, about Windows XP. Ah, how quickly we forget.” – Ed Bott

Windows XP was probably the most successful operating system that was deployed across the globe – especially if you are a small business or a large enterprise.  It too had a slight learning curve and many people were resistant to this initial change.  We soon find that with change, good things happen.

It is true – I am a Microsoft fanboy.  It was a life goal to fulfill a dream and actually work for Microsoft.  For the last 12.5 years as an employee, I have witnessed a lot – the ups and the downs in the industry. 

With Windows 8, I’ve never been more excited and more passionate about the possibilities that the new operating system with the cloud services afford.  Everything is finally starting to come together.  There are great synergies between the devices that are available:  the PC, Laptop, Tablet to the Phone to the XBOX.  With cloud services like Office 365, Windows Azure, SkyDrive, and Windows Intune, I have the ability to merge my work and personal lifestyles where I can finally do both:  work and play.

In closing, I want to take a peak into three stories that convince me that Microsoft is on the right track.  I picked both of the educational stories because they focus on the youth that will be entering the workforce.  I added the the Emirates Airlines Case Study for a non-educational review on the value of Windows 8.

Seaton Hall University

Seton Hall University  October 2012, Microsoft published a case study with Seton Hall University.  Starting with the Fall 2012 school year, Seton Hall University will be giving all first-year students a Windows 8 tablet device and a Windows Phone.  Windows 8 and Windows Phone were chosen after rigorous comparative testing and they found that the students wanted the familiarity of Windows with the productivity of Office.  It also provided the administration the security and management that they have come to expect and demand.

Here is what Seton Hall University’s CIO, Stephen Landry, had to say about it:

“In the fall of 2011, Seton Hall distributed 50 iPads and 400 tablet devices running on Google Android to members of the university community.  We received consistent feedback that people generally liked those consumer devices,” says Landry. “But they missed the familiarity of the Windows interface and the Microsoft Office environment that enables them to be as productive as possible. They wanted a tighter connection between the tablet and desktop experience.” Landry also noted that he appreciates the enterprise-grade security and manageability offered by Microsoft technology.

What I love most about this story comes from Seton Hall’s President, Dr. Gabriel Estaban:

Windows 8 ties everything together. It facilitates students’ ability to consume and create content and collaborate across multiple devices—basically to extend the learning process far beyond the classroom.

This is the Microsoft story… whether it is a University, a Small Business, a Large Enterprise, or for your own personal workstyle.  Connecting experiences across devices.

image

Southern Illinois University

SIU LogoReported March 2013 by InformationWeek, Southern Illinois University will also be providing Windows 8 tablets (the Dell Latitude 10) to all incoming Freshmen arriving this fall as part of their Mobile Dawg initiative.

Why Windows 8 Tablets?

“SIU expects to save $3 million or more over the course of the planned four-year program, compared with the difference in hardware, warranty, and support costs of an equivalent program based on iPads.”

“Also, the Latitude tablets can be managed with tools such as Microsoft System Center, just like any other Windows computer.”

“Finally, the Dell tablets provided functionality the iPads couldn’t match, such as the ability to run tutorial and assessment courseware that is standard at the university and is based on Flash, which is not supported by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. Labs and classrooms can also be equipped with docking stations, allowing the Latitude tablets to be used with a full-size keyboard and mouse.”

Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines is one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world and they announced during November 2012 that they are deploying the HP ElitePad 900 for their airline pursers and crew.

Emirate Airlines developed an application for Windows 8 to provide a personalized experience for the crew to better serve the needs of their customers.  Anita Grillo, Purser for Emirates, describes the experience as

“Customer information is presented in easy snapshots. I know if it’s someone’s birthday, or what a passenger prefers to eat or drink.  KIS running on Windows 8 enables me to deliver an amazing in-flight experience.”

With Windows 8, I enjoy sharing the best of both worlds.  The ability to provide a flexible workstyle with the enterprise grade management and security solutions customers expect.  Emirates Airlines sees the significance of this:

“For our latest version of Knowledge-driven In-flight Solution, we wanted an amazing user experience that met all the requirements of enterprise IT. With Windows 8, we met that challenge.”  – Kevin Griffiths, Senior Vice President, Cabin Crew, Emirates

Read the Cast Study or watch the video below.

Emirates Airlines uses Windows 8 to improve productivity and increase level of service.

 

All of these examples show the flexibility of the Windows ecosystem with the security and manageability that organizations demand.  To help you overcome the slight learning curve, take a look at my previous post on Windows 8 Tips, Ticks, and more.

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Filed under All, Reference, Windows

Is there Windows 8 Confusion; Windows RT/Pro what? Windows RT / WinRT huh?

Over the last eight weeks, I have participated in several conferences or customer device days.  It is really exciting to meet new people and to share the Microsoft and Windows 8 story.  I get to talk about the latest operating system, the cloud services that keep our life in sync (including Skydrive, Outlook.com, XBOX 360 with XBOX Live, the new XBOX Music and XBOX Video), Windows Phone, and many of the new devices from Microsoft and our OEM partners (HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Samsung, etc.).

For the most part, the conversation always starts out the same.  I do the initial pleasantries and then I’m asked “what is Microsoft showcasing today?”  So, that’s when it begins… I first uncover that most people are not familiar with the two primary types of operating systems from Microsoft:  Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro.  Further leading into an explanation between the differences between the Microsoft Surface RT and the Microsoft Surface Pro.

I’m assuming that if you are reading this, you might also not be too familiar between the two operating systems.

Let’s first start with “What is Windows 8?”

Windows 8

In a nutshell, Windows 8 is the new operating system that was design with a touch first experience.  The goal is to create a more beautiful, more flexible experience that is more you.  There are many new experiences with Windows 8 including:  The Start Screen, Touch with a no compromise Mouse and Keyboard experience, Windows Store, XBOX Music and Videos, and Cloud Synchronizing of your preferences.

Windows RT and Microsoft Surface RT

Windows RT is a new edition for the Windows Family.  It is a version of Windows that runs on the ARM processor.  ARM devices are typically thought of as being thinner, lighter, and having a longer battery life than their x86 counterparts.  I say “typically” because Intel has an ultra-low-voltage processor, the Atom processor, that is getting the battery performance of ARM-based devices.  Intel is also under development of Haswell, a new low-power processor that is optimized for power savings and performance.

With Windows RT, you get the beautiful new experience.  The main thing to know about Windows RT is that the only apps that run on these devices are the ones that come from the Windows Store… with the exception of the pre-included Microsoft Office Home & Student edition which gives you Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote (all 2013 versions).  As a business user, the Information Technology (IT) department can side-load the new Modern applications and manage these devices with Windows Intune (more coming later).

This allows any user of a Windows RT device to have a touch-optimized experience to play games, interact with touch-enabled applications, browse the web, and do light email.  Additionally, with Microsoft Office included, you get all of the great productivity software to create rich content for work, home, school, etc.

To accompany Windows RT, Microsoft designed a device that takes full advantage of the ARM processor with a beautifully designed tablet, touch experience.  The Microsoft Surface RT is 1.5 lbs, gets approximately 10 hours of battery life, has 5 points of touch, an integrated kickstand, and the extras that you would want in a tablet device:  USB port (USB 2.0), microSDXC card slot, HD video out port, and you can purchase an optional cover that is a keyboard (either the touch keyboard at 3 millimeters thin or the tactile Type keyboard).

Windows 8 Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro

Windows 8 Pro provides you all of the greatness of a Windows RT device, but since it leverages the x86 processor, you also get to leverage the full capabilities of the desktop.  What does this mean to you?  Any application that runs on a Windows 7 device (desktop, laptop, etc.), can run on a Windows 8 Pro device.  Therefore, if you purchase a touch-enabled device that runs Windows 8 Pro to take advantage of the new touch capabilities of Windows 8, you also get the ability to run all of your existing applications.  It’s a no compromise solution… the best of both worlds (a tablet device combined with the power of the full desktop).

Microsoft has a second tablet device called the Microsoft Surface Pro.  Surface Pro runs Windows 8 Pro.  For most people, this device can be your PC/Laptop replacement.  If you are looking for a new ultrabook or laptop, you should consider the Microsoft Surface Pro.  It is slightly heavier at 2.0 lbs but it packs a punch.  It’s equipped with the Intel Core i5 processor, 10 points of touch, a digitizer for a beautiful inking experience, a display of 1920×1080 pixels, Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot, and 4 GB RAM.

The Beauty of Windows 8 Applications

To finish this post, I want to conclude with WinRT.  Do not confuse “Windows RT” with “WinRT” – Windows RT is the version of the operating system that runs on the ARM processor.  WinRT is the API (application programming interface) for the development of Windows 8 applications.

Why is WinRT so important?  As a developer, you can develop a Windows 8 application and deploy it to all devices (ARM and x86).  This means that you don’t have to recompile or do anything extra.  The applications just work because both the Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro have the WinRT library included with the operating systems.  This is very important for developer support.  There is no worry on how to make a Windows 8 application work for the ARM platform as well as the x86 platform.  Because of WinRT, the applications are cross platform.  As an end-user, I can move between devices without worrying if the application is supported on that particular device.

It just works.

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Filed under All, Windows

Comparing 3 Windows 8 Tablets

All comments below are my own personal comments and are not endorsed or supported by the company that employs me.

On Friday, I was able to get my hands on three tablet devices to prepare for my customer demos.  I was fortunate to get the Microsoft Surface Pro, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, and the Dell Latitude 10.

For the Microsoft Surface Pro, I was also given the optional Type Keyboard.  It already comes with a pen.

For the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, this device is a slimmed down prototype.  It fully runs the Windows 8 operating system; however, it has a non-functioning pen (you can’t remove the pen from the slot) and doesn’t appear to have many of the sensors you are expecting (which are available in the device you would purchase).  I also did not have the optional docking station.

For the Dell Latitude 10, I don’t have the pen, I didn’t receive the docking station, and it too is also missing many of the modern sensors.

Why am I writing this?  I received three separate inquiries asking my opinion and although I don’t have all of the optional accessories and sensors, I did get some time looking at the devices and I am really impressed with each one for different reasons.  Maybe my little overview will be of interest to you.

Here are the details of the devices that seem to be most important to me.  I also provide the link to the full details just in case I didn’t grab a specification that you are interested in.

  Microsoft Lenovo Dell
Surface Pro ThinkPad Tablet 2 Latitude 10
 
image

image


image
Processor Intel Core i5 Intel Atom
1.8 GHz
Intel Atom
1.8 GHz
RAM 4 GB 2 GB 2 GB
Storage 64 GB or 128 GB 64 GB 32 GB or 64 GB
Weight 2.0 lbs
w/o keyboard
1.25 – 1.3 lbs 1.45 lbs
Screen Size 10.6”
1920×1080
10.1”
1366×768
10.1”
1366×768
Battery 42 W-h
~5 hours
10 hours
25 days connected standby
Swappable
8 hours or
20 hours w/ extended battery
Pen Yes Yes Yes
Touch 10 Finger 5 Finger 10 Finger
3G / 4 G No Yes Yes
w/ optional dock
TPM/BitLocker Yes Yes Yes
More Details Full Specs Full Specs Full Specs

 

All devices are running the Windows 8 Professional operating system.  What this gives me (besides the new touch optimized experience with the new modern style applications) is that I get the full desktop experience.  This allows me to install any application that would run on Windows 7 by installing it on on my Windows 8 Pro device.  There are many attempts in the blog-o-sphere to compare these devices to the Apple iPad.  I personally feel that you cannot compare these devices to the iPad device (another article at another time) because it is so much more.  These devices can be a laptop/pc replacement device because they allow me to run my traditional desktop applications.  In the Apple ecosystem, I would need the iPad with my Windows PC/Laptop or a MacBook.

I installed Office Professional 2013 on all three devices and installed Autodesk SketchBook Pro 6 on the Microsoft Surface Pro (since I could test the inking).

Microsoft Surface Pro

What I love most about the Surface Pro is the performance.  This device comes with an Intel Core i5 processor.  It is speedy fast and performs very well.  If you are looking for a new laptop or ultrabook, this could be your device of choice.  There have also been Youtube videos posted on gamers playing World of Warcraft on the Surface Pro.  I selected one random Youtube video (no endorsement) if you are interested.

The other features that make this device very attractive are the integrated kickstand (so I can go from tablet content consumption to being productive in a snap), the protective cover that is also a keyboard (using the Type keyboard to give me that tactile feel), the pen (the inking is absolutely amazing), and the hidden microSD slot for additional storage (under the kickstand).  You also get the video out and USB 3 ports to extend the capabilities of this device.

OK Microsoftie… what are the potential downsides to this device?  With performance you currently get tradeoffs.  The one that is highlighted most is battery life.  It is estimated that you get about 5 hours of battery life on the Surface Pro.  In my limited testing, I find this to be true – I find 5 hours is adequate for a device that packs this performance (although I am looking for future improvements).  The other is the pen holder.  The pen has a magnet that allows for you to attach it to the Surface Pro where you normally would plug the charging adapter (right side of the device).  I find that you can easily knock this off especially as you hold the device with your right hand so your left thumb can be used to engage the kickstand.  Lastly, if your workstyle is one that has you sitting on the couch, floor, etc. and you like placing a traditional laptop in your lap, the Surface Pro may feel a little awkward since it is top heavy.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a gorgeous device.  It is smaller and noticeably lighter than the Microsoft Surface Pro and slightly smaller and lighter than the Dell Latitude 10.  It just feels great great in your hands and begs you to fall in love with it.

Although my “pen” isn’t removable on this demo device, I absolutely love that it is integrated into the device.  It is located in the top left and is hidden when you are not using it.  There is no fear of losing or misplacing the pen.

I also like the 10.1” screen for a tablet device and the dimensions are complementary for the 10.1” screen.

Although I didn’t have the optional docking station, I’ve seen it.  It is well made and fits nicely with the Tablet 2 making this device very portable with a keyboard. 

The device also has a slot for 3G/4G if this is important to you.  I use an AT&T wireless hotspot which is used for the many devices I have and may use at any given moment.

The one downside I can see on this device is the performance.  It does quite well running Microsoft Office but I found when I launched 4-6 applications, you can feel the performance be a little slow to respond at times.  The other is screen size.  I like a larger screen when I’m in content creation or productivity mode.

I think this is an excellent device and should be considered if you are looking for a smaller, lighter device that has a long battery life for a Windows 8 Professional device.

Dell Latitude 10

The Dell Latitude 10 is also a beautifully made device.  It’s very similar to the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 in that it runs the Atom processor and experiences the same performance issue the Tablet 2 has when launching and working with multiple applications at the same time.

What makes this device scream with excitement is the replaceable battery.  Dell says I can get about 8 hours; or 20 hours with the extended battery.

What concerns me most about this device is the optional docking station.  It is one additional accessory in my backpack that I could potentially be carrying (along with a keyboard) when I visit my customers.  But, if you don’t need to travel with your docking station and keyboard, this may not be an issue for you.

Summary

All three devices are Enterprise Ready.  What this means is that they all can have Full Drive Encryption (using Microsoft’s BitLocker technology) and can be fully managed within your enterprise.  Most of my customers already have an Enterprise Management Solution like Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager.  This allows IT organizations to gather software and hardware inventory, update the devices with the latest security patches, and deploy software. 

AND… IT organizations can deploy your traditional Windows 7 Desktop applications to these Windows 8 devices.  No compromise.  You get the beauty of the newly designed, touch optimized experience with Windows 8 and the new modern applications AND you get a full desktop experience to keep you productive at work and at home.

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