Users and CIOs are adapting their ways to suit new devices, so why do commentators claim the tablet is not a real working tool?
In many western households there are two cars and at least two computers. The computers will often have different operating systems, or thanks to our friends at Microsoft different versions! Usually in a two car household the cars are of different sizes, models, probably from a different manufacturer, different nationality of manufacturer, one may be automatic, the other a 'proper' car. Then these cars may rely on different fuels and increasingly different propulsion systems as electric and hybrid sales increase.
All of the above demonstrates that people are quite adept at using different versions of or different devices for differing roles. Yet to listen to some commentators, the tablet device is just a toy and cannot be a serious enterprise tool, as if the workforce cannot operate without a traditional beige box, keyboard and mouse. They talk of sit back and sit forward devices.
I find this debate ridiculous. How can these commentators say this when the smartphone revolution of recent years has demonstrated that consumers and workers want and use these small devices to carry out necessary tasks for work and life?
There is no doubting that certain business tasks such as creating and working on spreadsheets is easier on a traditional computer. These same detracting commentators talk of the lack of a 'real' keyboard and touchscreen difficulties with tablet devices. Are they the same people that leave the people carrier at home and use the Ford Ka when they need to shift seven people?
A key aspect of the consumerisation of IT is that it demonstrates that users want simple devices, they demand efficient devices and they insist on choosing the applications they find useful to complete their roles and live life. This is so refreshing when compared to the mass bundle of features a PC has that are never used and the power games of yore.
This adoption of consumer devices is also indicative of the times we live in. Slowly consumers are realising that smaller and more efficient devices make better to sense to them personally, but also to society and the environment. To return to our car analogy, you just look a fool in a big 4x4 in a city when a small car or alternative transport would be more comfortable. Equally who wants to lug a heavy device about between meetings when all you probably need access to is email, calendar, a basic writing tool and the internet?
The task a worker faces will influence the device they use. If a heavyweight task requires completing they will use a heavyweight tool. But much of our computing requirement needs little more than a smartphone or tablet.
Users have and will adapt to touchscreen keyboards, just as they adapt to driving a smaller car made by an Asian company has the indicators on a different side of the steering column.
So let's have an end to this lean forward and lean back false debate and celebrate an empowered workforce that wants efficient devices and working ways. As the old adage says "you use the right tools for the right jobs" - for too long PCs have been over powered, over-spec tools for wrong job. Just like that ridiculous urban 4x4.
Full disclosure: this article and many others were written on a tablet device making full use of the touchscreen keyboard. Any spelling errors or typing mistakes are typical of the author, not the device.