The Small Business Opportunity

By Jennifer Lawinski  |  Print this article Print

The new technology has the potential to be the next big thing in business computing, and resellers would be smart to start planning on how to incorporate tablets into their solutions.

Jeff Davis, senior VP of sales at D&H Distributing in Harrisburg, Pa., said that while it’s uncertain exactly how disruptive the tablet will be, it’s likely to have an impact in the SMB space.

"There’s a fair amount of pent up interest in the tablet to see where that’s going to. I think it has the possibility to cross between personal use and consumer use and business use – that’s one of the things I think we’re starting to see with the iPad. A lot of these purchases start off as consumer purchases but they quickly integrate them into their work," he said.

Medical and real estate tablet solutions are likely to be popular with customers in those verticals, he said.

"We think it’s going to be a category that’s going to emerge in the first quarter really come to fruition in the second quarter and it will definitely be a hot product for next year," Davis said. "The netbook came on the scene and quickly got a lot of penetration very early on, and as they started to improve them and make them bigger, it started to get a whole new class of people into the tablets."

Android products, he said, should be marketplace successes as developers create more apps for the platform and more companies come out with Android 3.0 devices that come in different sizes, like Android-base cell phones.

HP could also bring a breakthrough product to market, Davis said, if they leverage the technology they acquired with Palm. "I think that’s got a real shot at competing with the Apple iPad and anything Android comes out with, if it’s done right. With the power of HP and that web OS operating system is very good. It depends on how they translate that to the tablet."

Not all VARs, however, think the new tablets will be game changers.

"There is a general misconception about what a tablet is and people really need to understand what a tablet is, said Armen Sarani, owner of Laptop Authority, in Omaha, Ne. Laptop Exchange carries Fujitsu and Lenovo tablet PCs to healthcare, finance and insurance customers.

Resellers and customers need to distinguish between products like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy and tablet PCs capable of running a full Windows OS, Sarani said. "They’re not fully functioning computers. They do have some productive software there, but it’s not really for everyone like the regular PC computer."