A couple weeks back ZDNet writer Larry Dignan wrote a piece: “10 reasons why e-readers make sense in the enterprise.” It’s worth a read. In a nutshell, his reasons are:
1. Cost savings
2. Greener business
3. Space savings
4. More efficient workers
5. Increased professionalism
6. Staying in the know
7. Higher morale
8. More documentation on hand
9. Reduced eye strain
10. Brave new e-reader world
What struck me so much about his list though, is how many of these reasons could also be given for Tablet PCs. Part of the reason is that Tablet PCs are a superset of eReaders. This tends to make Tablets more expensive, but even with that, there are other offseting benefits that make Tablets compelling in the enterprise. There’s the value of Tablets being able to integrate into an enterprise’s existing IT infrastructure. There’s the value of Tablets doubling as mobile PCs. There’s the value of Tablets supporting handwritten notes. And so on.
Larry Dignan’s advocation for e-Readers is not lost on me though. In fact, what I see as a bright possible future is the merging of e-Readers and Tablet PC features like inking, handwriting recognition, and the like.
The technology isn’t quite there in terms of displays, processing power, battery managment, software and the like, but we’re getting closer. Real close.
In fact, my prediction is that a well designed e-Reader/Tablet could trump both categories of devices. It used to be thought, that a great Tablet needed to be a good notebook. I think we’ve moved beyond that. Now I’d say a great e-Reader needs to be a good Tablet.