War of the tablets: the battle for platform independence

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So with a very large fanfare Apple finally unveiled their next generation iPad on March 2nd in San Francisco, no doubt you will of course know this as coverage has been everywhere. The BBC story includes quite a large section from Steve Jobs presentation which as always told us what we needed to know quickly and concisely. So what’s all the fuss and what does the announcement really mean?

Essentially the iPad 2 comes with some significant improvements including being lighter and thinner, having a camera, huge improvements to the graphics, a new version of the OS with faster browsing capabilities and the ability to output to HDMI. For those of you interested in the finer details you may find Dan Grabham’s recent article entitled “Apple iPad 2, 12 things you need to know” useful.

The announcement has, of course, resulted in a flurry of media activity calling this Apples comeback kid as it faces off against the Android Honeycomb tablet. JR Raphael’s blog on Computer World today iPad 2 vs. Android: And the winner is… goes into the two rivals in great detail and is one of the best articles I have read pitting the two rivals head to head.

But isn’t there something we are all forgetting?- RIM’s Playbook scheduled for official release in April or May, depending on which sites you read. To my mind this is really going to be the tablet that sets the cat amongst the pigeons and kicks off the real war of the tablets.

Despite my long held love of the Apple brand, and the fact that I will not doubt end up with an iPad 2 at home, I have to admit we are holding out for the Playbook at work simply because we believe that as a business tool it may prove to be the most robust, usable and influential. I’m sure that’s quite a controversial statement but if you believe the victor will be Apple, Android or another let me know, as we are always open to suggestions.

Potential tablet users at an Enterprise level are at very significant cross roads, one way lies failure another success but which is which?

Of course all of the announcements and the comparisons feed back to how impossible it is for any ISV or Enterprise to hitch their horse to any one Platform for mobile or tablet at the minute. It’s just all so uncertain that I really believe making the wrong choice could massively affect any business.

This is a topic I’ve been over before and no doubt will cover again, it’s the ultimate catch 22, ignore mobile and miss out on a potentially huge business advantage but hitch your horse to the wrong wagon and you could make a huge and costly mistake. The only solution, as I always argue, is to become platform independent and let the big boys fight it out while reaping the rewards they all bring to the table.

David Akka is Managing Director at Magic Software Enterprises UK. David is a successful executive manager with a proven track record as a general manager with a strong background in sales, marketing, business development and operations. Past experience in technology and service delivery include both UK and European responsibilities.