I’m not sure enterprise “corridor warriors” are going to camp outside Best Buy with their Herman Millers to get the first BlackBerry PlayBooks when they go on sale on April 19 — this isn’t a new iPad launch, after all. But the PlayBook tablet buzz is in full swing, and the critiques are piling up. And wireless operators selling them need to be clear on why the PlayBook might appeal to the enteprise buyer beyond traditional BlackBerry IT acceptance.
In short, the PlayBook will definitely not make your BlackBerry smartphone obsolete; you’ll need it for native email, calendar and contacts until a future software update extends those capabilities to the larger PlayBook. That’s vexing to many reviewers, even though the evolving smart device market indicates that having one device for everything is a concept that has gone by the wayside.
But for its particular business-oriented audience, it appears that RIM definitely got the size of the PlayBook right. If the PlayBook is to be used as a business tool (in addition to a personal entertainment device while not on the job), size definitely matters.
Enterprise uses for tablets are just beginning to develop, and will no doubt proliferate in the coming months. According to recent surveys, it is the form factor of the 7-inch PlayBook, not the 9.7-inch iPad, that appears to be perfect for tucking into a coat pocket, back pocket or some other kind of pocket.
Seven-inch tablets are for “corridor warriors,” which, as I understand, are roaming office workers without the wheels of a road warrior. CIMI President Tom Nolle, whom we have already deemed a mobile behaviorist when it comes to tablet use, says these corridor warrior types roam hallways, not highways.
According to Nolle’s enterprise surveys, collaborative processes slow if corridor warriors aren’t routinely at their desks. “It’s not a good assumption that people in the same office can get together, so a 7-inch tablet would give a worker the ability to read and approve a document,” he said.
But tablets may work best for people who are “approvers” rather than “producers,” because approvers have to look at documents, but not necessarily type in a lot of information. Soon we’ll see how the corridor wars play out with enterprise IT PlayBook support.