My problem with tablets is they don’t replace anything. My smartphone replaced a lot of things, my laptop replaced my desktop. My Kindle replaces lots of books. From what I see, tablets don’t replace anything. They are a new device joining the primal fight for airport power outlets.
I see two major barriers. Easy to overcome.
Kiosk mode is handy too. Desk phones can be used by anyone. Cell phones and tablets have so much personal information that a password is prudent. Cell phones allow 911 without a password, but an enterprise desk phone really should allow internal dialing without a password.
There is also a form factor thing to consider. The tablet needs to be propped on the desk so the owner can see it (and show it off to everyone else). Accessories such as a handsets, keyboards, quality external speakers, and so on need to be available, but this area seems under control. These accessories need to be easily reallocated as needs change. Tablets are more breakable and easier to lose than a desktop phone. Probably should have an RFID chip installed, but that seems more reasonable as a customer added accessory.
At the recent NEC Advantage conference, a proof of concept tablet docked phone was demonstrated that used a telephone base as a tablet dock. The phone could still receive calls without the tablet, but had no display or keypad in this mode. The tablet effectively runs the same soft phone client as one the desktop, NEC uses RIA technology so the porting of applications between devices is fairly simple. This is a great concept and I hope to see it come to market. Tablet makers would do themselves a favor if they could standardize on a basic dock connector, but don’t hold your breath.
Kudos to companies that have figured out how to include the tablets with collaboration tools – such as shared PowerPoints and desktops. SEN and RADVISION have solutions on an iPad, very impressive. Love the fact on RADVISION I can control the deck. Avaya and Cisco have built this into their devices as well.
Evidently Microsoft intends to address this market with Windows 8. That will be interesting – a mainstream OS that works on a desktop or tablet could be very powerful. Clearly an interesting space to watch, but for now I’m keeping my desktop phone.