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This is not a toy
The skyrocketing popularity of tablets is undeniable. During the past several years, over 285 million have been sold worldwide . To put that into context, if you were to lay those tablets end-to-end, they would stretch across the entire length of the continental U.S.—a full fifteen times . But there’s another fact that’s also undeniable: only a very small fraction of these tablets are being used in business. Sure, you might use one to browse YouTube videos from your couch, or play the new Super Candy Munch with a friend, but when it comes to the office, most people leave their tablets at home.
The conventional wisdom has been that tablets are a toy or high-tech accessory, and while they may be fine for browsing the web in bed, they have little to offer in a business setting. That conventional wisdom may have been true yesterday, when tablets were just starting out. But it may not be true tomorrow. Here are four trends in tablets that are transforming them from poolside toys into productivity powerhouses. It’s time to pay attention to what tablets can do for your business.
In the past, taking advantage of the flexibility tablets provide has meant a tradeoff in security. Businesses either had to limit tablet access to sensitive information, which reduced their usefulness, or accept the increased possibility of a breach. Not anymore. New business tablets are offering a wider range of features to help integrate them safely with your network and data. HP ElitePads, for example, feature HP BIOS Protection and Just in Time Authentication right out of the box for enhanced device and data protection. This beefed-up security allows employees to access customer data, pricing and other sensitive information with confidence and ease.
Operating system choices
New tablets are offering multiple OS options to help employees stay productive on the go. While the speed and affordability of an Android™ OS is perfect for on-the-road updates and presentations, some tasks require a more full-featured OS. Tablets with Microsoft® Windows 8.1 Pro are able to run business tasks and applications you might normally run on your desktop, from Word to QuickBooks® . Windows based tablets can also help simplify deployment and management for your IT department.
Multiple input options
For some business tasks, touch-based input isn’t always the fastest way to work. That’s why new tablet models offer multiple ways to interact, from optional keyboards and mice to pen- and even voice-based input options. These different ways to create, edit and connect allow employees to work the way that suits them, and their task, the best—even when they don’t have access to a workstation.
Sales floor integration
From office presentations to restaurant reservations, tablets are increasingly helping businesses close the deal. New point of sale (POS) solutions like the HP MX10 use tablets to seamlessly transition between a mobile and fixed POS. That increased flexibility is helping businesses meet customer needs during peak hours, and increase associate productivity during non-peak hours.
If there is a connecting thread to these trends, it may be that tablets in the office are becoming a powerful yet inexpensive bridge. New business tablets connect employees with real-time information, customers and applications in situations where a laptop could be both awkward and inefficient. It’s no wonder, then, that the latest business tablet rumors center around models with multiple operating systems—another way to further bridge different scenarios and environments. With office tablets maturing at a rapid pace, it’s worth taking a second look at bringing tablets out of the bedroom and into the boardroom.
HP ElitePad 1000 Business Tablet (Windows 8.1 Pro)
HP Slate 7 Extreme Business Tablet (Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean)
Coming soon: HP Slate 8 Pro Business Tablet (Android 4.4 KitKat)
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 TabTimes.com, The State of the Tablet Market, March 22, 2014
 Assuming installed base of 285 million tablets, average tablet length of 9 inches, width of continental U.S. of 2,680 miles
 Not all features are available in all editions of Windows 8.1 Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers and/or software to take full advantage of Windows 8.1 functionality. See www.microsoft.com
Microsoft, Windows and Word are US registered trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Android is a registered trademark of Google, Inc., used with permission.