What Is the Proper Role for Tablet Computing?

Rob Daly, Sell-Side Technology

On the PATH train to New York from Hoboken, NJ, this morning, I noticed there were about three Apple iPad users in my car, which is fairly typical for my commute. Every time I looked up I could see the iPad users playing various games or watching a video.

Observing this type of behavior in the wild reinforces my skepticism of tablet computing.

When these devices first debuted, I could not figure out which itch they truly scratched. Full-blown PCs provide data entry, data processing and storage. Smartphones are communication devices with small, handy applications layered on top.

Tablets, on the other hand, have been dubbed "media consumption" devices. To me, that sounds like the role of a tablet is to be a standalone graphical user interface (GUI), or a netbook computer without a keyboard.

IT managers I’ve talked to say they like how inexpensive and easy to manage these devices are compared to the ultra-light notebook computers they replace, which are mostly overkill for the basic productivity requirements of the mobile work force.

So, besides providing their media-consumption capabilities, where should financial services firms be implementing these technologies and what applications should be deployed on them?

The other day I spoke with Alexei Miller, executive vice president at DataArt, a customer software development house, to get his views on the evolution of mobile applications in financial services. In short, Miller says that wider adoption of mobile applications is still a ways off. You can listen to our entire conversation here.

Please share your thoughts on the topic with me via email at [email protected].


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