Friday, June 10, 2011

Skype, Typing, Security on Tablets

Here are a couple questions I was asked today:
How easy is it to type on tablets?
Typing on a tablet is typing on a touch screen.  You one-finger or two-finger type.  If you have something like my Iconia A500 you can attach a USB keyboard.  You could also pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard for wireless typing.  Using the touchscreen keyboard is definitely slower than a keyboard but faster than on a phone.

Does Skype work on them?
You can use Skype on Android tablets.  See http://www.gadgetsbing.com/2010/11/skype-hits-on-android-tablet/ for some details.  It's on iPad (http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=804071).  Looks like not on Playbook (http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=813617).
E-mail, Skype, and Internet need to be speedy and secure, are they?
Security - the Playbook is potentially more secure but it requires pairing with a Blackberry phone I think.  It's half-baked, but better than iPad and Android.  Wireless security is good on all of them... assuming you connect over a secure wireless network with decent encryption.  It doesn't matter which device you have, if you connect over an open wireless connection your transmissions can be intercepted and read.

I use a Sprint Overdrive 3g/4g hotspot in combination with my Iconia for on-the-go internet.  If you get a tab with built-in broadband you wouldn't need to do that.  I don't do any significant work on public wi-fi though for security reasons.  If you stay of public wi-fi you're pretty safe.

Security options for business use of tablets are few at this point.  The Microsoft tabs based on Windows 8 should be good but those won't be out for a while.  The Playbook should be good for security but there's a whole lot of downside for the Playbook in my opinion.


Summary
This is a brand new form factor with several new software platforms.  It's going to take it a while to mature to the point where a lot of businesses are comfortable depending on them.  For limited use and if you're careful though I think they're ready now for those that want to be on the leading edge.

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