July 05, 2010 // By: Frank Völkel
If developments continue on the same track, the laptop is set to be put out to pasture – because more than three million iPads have already been sold. They are more compact, considerably lighter, more energy-efficient, easier to use, and don’t come with the trappings of a keyboard and a mouse. Moving parts are a thing of the past, and the batteries last at least 10 hours. But some questions need to be addressed: Can we work faster with our fingers than with a mouse? Is it easier to edit the contents of tables with finger movements?
We don’t click any more, we touch. The virtual keyboard automatically appears on the pad, so our eyes don’t have to move from keyboard to screen. And one thing is definitely true: Those small programs – also known as apps – are much faster and simpler to install than the bulky, old-style program packages. The same is true of updates and distribution: Data carriers and interfaces are no longer needed, because the connection is wireless, through UMTS or WLAN.
If studies conducted by a number of market researchers are to be believed, day-to-day office tasks in a typical company can definitely be mastered with a tablet PC. According to such studies, a slim-line computer with a touchscreen could replace a conventional notebook in at least 50% of business cases. Daily tasks include reading and writing e-mails, creating presentations, drawing up documents, accessing business processes such as ERP applications within an app, or controlling such business processes using a Web browser. What’s more, company videos can be shown or video conferences held, as long as the tablet PC has an integrated camera. It is highly likely that SAP’s ambitious plans of reaching a billion users for its ERP software by the year 2015 will only be achieved with the help of smartphones and tablet PCs.