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1Too Many to Choose From

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, several companies showed off tablets to compete with Apple’s iPad. For consumers, that was undoubtedly a good thing, since they offered more choice than what they’ve been used to. But for enterprise customers, it was a nightmare. More choice means harder decisions. When it comes to tablets and the enterprise, simplicity is most important.

2Android or iOS?

IT decision-makers will have another important task ahead of them this year: choosing between Android or iOS. Google’s platform has historically missed out in the enterprise. The same might be said for Apple’s platform. But this year, both Google and Apple are expected to make serious inroads into the enterprise. And companies will need to decide which platform is right for them.

3Should They Replace Smartphones?

Smartphones have become integral to the corporate world. They add mobility and a level of productivity that wasn’t available years ago. But tablets are now potentially encroaching on that space. And companies will need to decide if they should invest in new smartphones or new tablets this year. After all, budgets are finite, and the less a company spends, the better.

4Is A Mixed Environment OK?

Productivity is an extremely important aspect of running a company. The more productive a firm’s employees are, the better. Realizing that, bringing devices into the enterprise running a different operating system than that on the employee’s computer and smartphone might be a tough call for companies. Mixed environments tend to confuse employees. They also make training more difficult. Simply put, companies will need to decide this year if bringing another platform into their operations really makes much sense, no matter how important tablets might seem to be.

5To Allow Apps or No

Mobile applications have proven to be an outstanding way for consumers to expand the functionality of their tablets. But in the enterprise, they can be a real drain on productivity. Employees will download games and other entertainment programs, rather than work. On the other hand, apps can also expand the functionality of tablets for companies that want to build programs for their employees. It’s a give-and-take. And it’s something that companies will need to decide on this year.

6Trusting Apple

Apple has not always been the most enterprise-friendly company. For years, it has been somewhat unwilling to adapt to the needs of corporate customers, and along the way, it has pushed those companies to Microsoft and Windows. Now, Apple is making a play for the enterprise with its iPad. And it’s becoming clearer each day that the enterprise will have to decide if it can trust Apple or not.

7Will Cisco Deliver?

Cisco is planning to launch the Cius tablet this year. The device, which will run Android, is designed to be integrated into existing Cisco devices in the enterprise. As noted, Android will be a hot-button issue for IT decision-makers this year. And the Cisco Cius will be at the center of that decision-making. IT decision-makers will need to decide if it’s right for them or not.

8BlackBerry’s Tablet OS

RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook is shipping with the company’s upcoming Tablet OS. The operating system is designed to deliver BlackBerry OS-like functionality in a tablet environment. Whether or not companies will take to that functionality remains to be seen. But the enterprise will need to decide if the new operating system will either improve productivity or hurt it.

9Maintaining Productivity

Speaking of productivity, the onus will be on companies in 2011 to determine if tablets will help them out. On one hand, they should, considering tablets offer more mobility and potentially more functionality than the average netbook. However, as noted in previous slides, tablets have many more ways in which employees can do things other than work. In 2011, the enterprise needs to think clearly about productivity and determine once and for all if tablets will help out.

10Size Concerns

One of the key aspects of all the new tablets in 2011 is the ability for companies to decide which screen size they desire. If they want employees to have more mobility, they might opt for a 7-inch tablet. If they want something a bit larger, Apple’s iPad has a 9.7-inch display, while the Cisco Cius comes with a 10.1-inch screen. Simply put, size matters in tablet displays. Just look at the failure that was the 5-inch Dell Streak for proof of that.