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Government user juggling mobile products

Government needs are redefining tablets

In preparing for an upcoming roundup of tablets for government use, I have been pleased to find government-friendly features such as ruggedness and advanced security are becoming commonplace.

But it’s not as if manufacturers have settled on a standard size or set of features. As Agam Shah of Computerworld noted,  no one knows exactly which of these features will appeal to commercial users, or even what a particular government organization will need. As a result, many manufacturers are providing subsets of features they think will sell the best.

For instance, I am looking at tablets that are fully MIL-STD 810F rated for ruggedness and others with biometric fingerprint scanners and/or smart card readers that would work to two-factor authentication, but none of them have both.

And the important features of any tablet will always depend on the agency and the project. For instance, when the Air Force decided to go with iPads to replace its cumbersome hard-copy flight bags, it was looking specifically for a tablet that would respond well to touch and show text clearly and cleanly.

Other agencies might opt for the Dell Latitude 10 Enhanced Security Tablet, which includes a fingerprint and smart-card reader. Others might go with a rugged tablet, such as a Panasonic Toughpad.

Exactly how popular specific features traditionally required only by the government  become in the commercial marketplace is anyone’s guess right now. However, one thing is clear – the needs of government users are influencing manufacturers, and helping to redefine what a tablet should offer.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Mar 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM


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