We agree. The PC isn’t dead. It still has lots of advantages over smartphones and even phablets when it comes to computing capabilities, which is indeed keeping it far from extinct in the enterprise as Andrew Froelich points out in this recent InformationWeek article. But just like people, the PC comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to “live” in its “normal” desktop or laptop form to be powerful or purposeful.
In fact, the desktop/laptop workstation isn’t the only – or even the best – functional setup for workers considering that the majority of workers in field service sectors (utilities, public safety, manufacturing, transportation, logistics and even healthcare) are primarily mobile workers now. Honestly, PCs in their customary configuration remain mostly immobile devices. However, the PC experience in and of itself is not immobile. That’s where (the right) mobile tablet PC still comes to life, and why I think some folks may be wrong about what the PC comeback is going to look like.
Now, let me be clear: I agree with Andrew when he points out that many phablets and tablets have proved underwhelming for mobile workers. Consumer-grade devices just weren’t meant to handle the top business workflows needed today. And it’s true that even some tablets supposedly designed to support the enterprise experience fall short when it comes to the requirements of “real work” in a mobile environment.
But, and this is a big, important “but,” there are still tablet PCs purpose-built and thriving in the role of the PC – with full capabilities (keyboard,processing power, OS and all) – both in the office as well as in the vehicle and in the field. I know because Xplore has been developing them and seeing market demand only grow for them for the last 15+ years. And all of us at Xplore have been using our tablet PCs as our personal “desktop” in the office for years.
In fact these purpose-built tablets have proven very handy among workers known to frequently walk, crawl or climb to the jobsite – which of course is not very accommodating of a PC or laptop-type “office” setup. These same job settings aren’t very accommodating of pen and paper data processes either; they just slow down job completion in an environment where extreme elements typically offer enough speed bumps as it is without workers needing to worry about papers getting wet, blown away or just forgotten.
But then again, that’s why mobile tablet PCs – and particularly rugged tablet PCs – were brought to life so quickly in the first place. It’s also why they have so much life left in them despite any arguments to the contrary.