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With just a couple of weeks to go until Christmas, it looks like tablets are set to be one of the must-have presents under everyone’s tree.
While Apple has ruled the sector for the previous two Christmases – yes, it really has been less than three years since the first iPad was released – the whole tablet market has been shaken up in 2012 with the launch of 7in devices. These mini versions of Apple’s pioneering device are the first credible competition to the full-blown iPad, and look to be the big seller of the festive season this year.
Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD both offer a slick look and feel, high-quality screen, nippy performance and decent battery life – and just as the makers have shrunk down the size format, the price has fallen too. With its £400-odd price tag, only the fortunate among us could have hoped to get a 10in iPad under the tree on 25 December in 2010 or 2011.
However, the twin Christmas angels of Google and Amazon have come along this year to make every tablet lovers dream come true. With a massively reduced price tag of £159, the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 have now become a feasible present for millions more people, and have even forced Apple to follow suit and launch its own lower-cost mini tablet.
But while this is all welcome news for gadget lovers, Amazon and Google are more likely to be seen as ruining Christmas for many IT professionals. This is because when we all come back to work in the New Year, loaded up with our new mini tablets and expecting to be able to access anything from our work email to the latest sales figures from these devices, it will be the IT department tasked with either supporting this mobile access – or being the Scrooge who has to say no.
For some organisations, this will prove no more than a minor blip. Many firms already have bring your own device (BYOD) strategies in place, and have decided what employees can and can’t do with their mobile devices. So it will just be a case of extending these policies to any new Christmas presents of the tablet kind.
But for firms that have yet to consider or embrace the BYOD movement, 2013 could prove crunch time. So what can IT departments do in preparation for this tablet influx on 2 January?
Madeline Bennett is editor of V3 and The INQUIRER. Previously, she was editor of IT Week. Prior to becoming a journalist, Madeline was an English teacher at a London secondary school. Madeline is a regular technology commentator on TV and radio, including Sky, BBC and CNN.