Windows 8

Poll: Is your company waiting on Windows 8 to decide its tablet strategy?

TechRepublic wants to know if your company has its tablet strategy on hold until you see Windows 8 this Fall. Answer poll and join the discussion.

One of the things that I've heard from lots of IT professionals in 2012 is that their company is now supporting the iPad -- albeit reluctantly in some cases -- but that it's also waiting to start deploying iPads or any other tablets in significant numbers until it sees what Microsoft comes up with in Windows 8.

We're curious to see how widespread this phenomenon is. Answer our poll below to let us know if your company is delaying its tablet strategy until you see what Microsoft and its hardware partners come up with this fall with the release of Windows 8. After you respond to the poll, jump into the discussion and let us know how your company is (or isn't) using tablets or plans to use them in the years ahead.

Take the poll

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

128 comments
Kostaghus
Kostaghus

Funny! Really now... excellent! As a joke it's quite good. As a business question... Mmmmm... not so much! in a nutshell - we have NO Windows 7 machine in our company at the present. And we don't intent to have one in the foreseeable future. Windows XP works superbly for us. As for tablets... no. No. And again... no. What the jeezers are the good for?!?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

who have and use tablets. I know a few hundred, so I don't know how good a sample they represent. All of them, every single one, have a tablet in the 7 inch to 10 inch range, and they all use them to get documents off the Internet to read them in html format, and to read their web mail, check their calendar, and do wiki and Google searches. I've never seen or heard of any of them for anything else, with document reading being the biggest use. Since this thread started I've asked a few about it, and they admit it makes the storage, carrying, and use of documents a lot easier, and since it has the capability they also use it to check mail and a few other quick search things and see if the office has changed their calendar. But that's all. They rarely send anything, almost all is download of documents. Two have them provided by their employer with a few gigabytes of corporate documents already loaded as they need to refer to them on a daily basis. A few said they could do the same with their smart phones but the screen is too small for easy reading, and the same is true for many of the e-book readers. Also, the e-book readers don't have the ability to properly render standard html and thus not as rich in format as the tablets for the display of the documents. I now wonder if this is a fair representation of the real business use, and if it is, does it need to have much else and should the companies who make the tablets and the e-book readers be reviewing their stated needs and designs.

bellrm
bellrm

Basically my findings from my (smaller) sample of users are in agreement with your findings. However, I do recommend (re)reading the research conducted at Palto Alto in the late 80's on ubiquitous and pervasive computing, as finally products capable of delivering some(!) of the research vision are now available at consumer prices.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

A laptop in particular, while capable of all of the above, is far less capable of true Mobility use specifically where you don't have a place to set it down. When you're walking down the corridors talking to a member of your team or a staff member, that other person (or yourself) may not have the time to stop and set the laptop down, open it, wait for it to wake and then try to find the documents; you do all this on the fly with a tablet--no wasted time. The "heavy" work is still done at a desk, but the review and even the annotations can be done anywhere. This makes the tablet far more than the "toy" so many naysayers labeled it even though it is far less than a full laptop as they seem to believe this is intended to replace. It is an intermediary device--a supplemental device between the too-small smartphone and the too-big, too-clumsy laptop used as a portable desktop. Even the "ultrabooks" (and yes, I do include the iMac in that label) still have to be set down for easy use; they're just more portable than the rest.

JJFitz
JJFitz

[i]"(the tablet) is an intermediary device--a supplemental device between the too-small smartphone and the too-big, too-clumsy laptop used as a portable desktop."[/i] Is spot on. As an IT Director, I use my 7" HTC Flyer (Android) for taking notes on the fly. I can walk around with it in my back pocket. It is "instant on" so I can quickly take it out to snap a picture & annotate it, and email it to my staff. It is also useful for taking notes during impromptu meetings because it accepts pen input. I am not sure if I would carry a 10" tablet around as much because it is a bit bulkier. I have to weigh the pros and cons. The pros for the Surface Pro are: AD integration / GPO / User Profiles Runs full Windows programs. Windows Remote Desktop support Could be used as a lightweight desktop with a dual monitor set up. The real keyboard frees up screen real estate for heavier writing and browser searches and folds away when I don't need it. And it also supports pen input. It looks like I have plenty of time to think about it.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I'll even admit it has MY attention. Personally, I don't expect the keyboard cover to have much of a lifespan, however. That's just me. The ARM Surface with RT however, is little different from the iPad itself; it's biggest advantage is its ability to tie into a Windows-based network more easily

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

excel is technical manuals for the technicians to take and use in the field, imagine the convenience of a ten inch tablet that shows the diagram of the engine for an aircraft sitting on the wing beside the mechanic while he's working on it, or on the wheel of the tractor while being worked on in the middle of a field. It doesn't need anything more than the ability to store and display a html image in a reasonable way. Every bleeding tech manuals a company uses could be loaded up and on hand instead of a half ton of printed books.

JJFitz
JJFitz like.author.displayName 1 Like

I used my 7" Android tablet to watch a YouTube video on how to change the headlights on my car. It was so much better than a manual with an "exploded view" diagram.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Both my Android 7" and my Windows convertible tablets accept pressure sensitive pen input so I use them both to take handwritten notes and draw. The notes are automatically OCRed, and synched to a shared network location. E-Reading documents is enhanced by the ability to annotate by pen.

pfares
pfares

We choose Android for smatphone and tablets.

bellrm
bellrm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Tablet strategy is simple: Here and now, supporting ipad and android tablets today to satisfy identified business needs, as they are available and enable learning and shake out of enterprise infrastructure, applications and security. Long term the only viable option (for an existing Windows user organisation) is Windows tablet (and Windows phone) because currently Microsoft are the only organisation with an enterprise end user eco-system that has the potential to credibly span the full range of user/client devices. Waiting for Windows 8: Yes, however, we'll probably wait until SP2 before committing to an enterprise-wide deployment.

limon36
limon36 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I hate win 8 because of the start menu tile/table page it looks dumb and you can't add things, after taking them.

JJFitz
JJFitz

There isn't anything in our business where a tablet deployment [i]of any kind[/i] would make sense at this time.

brike2001
brike2001 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Windows 8 and its stupid Metro interface, which requires several steps to do what you can do with one in Windows 98 through 7, will be a flop in the workplace. Unless they come up with a button that says "dump metro interface and bring the start button back." Metro is cute on a phone, but on a computer??? Really? You need to guess every move, search among hundreds of tiles for your programs or apps, keep calling a program or file back, because it does not stick unless you use the desktop version. Then why the stupid cumbersome metro?

RickC1961
RickC1961

Really? So booting in a fraction of the time, tapping or clicking on a tile to open an app, linking apps in context to other apps (send to mail, search, twitter, text, other aware actions) , undocking the screen from my laptop then running to a meeting and using touch, better power management and battery life. Yeah, all useless.

ddalley
ddalley

Apparently, not. The answer is no.

vucliriel
vucliriel like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

THAT is a sorely missing option in your poll!

stoneyh
stoneyh like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

any AD integrated tablet platform is compelling. Really opens the door for security and group policy strategies from inside my existing infrastructure. However, none of that matters if the platform sucks... crossing my fingers for a solid product.

mbetzenheimer
mbetzenheimer like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

a) we just finished our windows 7 roll out, so no reason for windows 8. b) we don't use tablets, so no reason for windows 8. c) we skip every other Microsoft operation system roll out, so no reason for windows 8. d) by the time windows 7 needs replaced, windows 9 will be available, so no reason for windows 8.

WATKINS12
WATKINS12

It will depend on the nature of the business whether the tablet will be adopted or not. Granted, most IT departments wait until at least the first service pack before they roll out a new product. The will, however, be testing it and developing programs for it. Also, if they take Win8 to the desktop, then tablet adoption would necessarily be the right fit for conformity's sake.

abc123a
abc123a like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

There is no point in waiting for Windows 8 tablets if one can use the iPad. At this moment W8 tablets are pure unadulterated vaporware and there is no certainty that they will ever exist or actually work as advertised.

RickC1961
RickC1961

Your kidding, right? Vaporware? You know Microsoft IS Windows right, they have released millions of free copies of Windows8 to anyone who wants to use it to try, that at CES and Computex major hardware vendors such as Lenovo, Asus, Samsung, Dell showed Windows8 prototypes running the current RP? They are making this the interface for server, phone and Xbox as well as desktop. This is not vaporware it's the future. Of course there are other choices you can spend $3000 on a nice mac, get a Google chrome device, or load Linux. Let me know how that works out for you.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

that had all the advertising hype evaporate when put near the REAL life users.

Beeeater
Beeeater like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The tablet is not going anywhere - It has become a very necessary part of many people's digital armory, and they couldn't imagine functioning without it. Unfortunately for Microsoft, these people are now either Apple or Android loyalists. What on earth has Microsoft been doing all this time, while it lost mind-share to these other companies? By the time we see tablets running Windows 8, they will be irrelevant - Just like Windows phones.

beep54
beep54 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Basically, it looks like 8 could be a winner if only M$ would get its effing head out of it's butt and realize that Metro just aint going to work with the non-touchscreen crowd. Ah, but no. M$ is trying it's damnedest to make certain that 8 is received with all the joy that Vista was.

rjeuch
rjeuch like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

We were kind of expecting that W8 would be forked two ways, one supporting touch devices and the other taylored for the good old keyboard-mouse users. As a consultant, I watch the awesome productivity speed our clients show with Windows 7 or even Windows XP and they are not willing to give up these features.

Darren B - KC
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My company has no plans to use tablets of any kind on a large scale. We bought two, one iPad and one Android, for our sales department to try out as replacements to their laptops for company sales trips. So far, it's been a huge waste of time and money since neither tablet has been able to live up to the business needs. We seem to have slightly better flexibility interfacing with our in-house web services with the Android than we do with the iPad, although that's not surprising. I'm sick of hearing how "tablets are taking over", because that's just the industry pundits telling blatant lies, plain and simple. I travel fairly often and when I'm sitting at the airport, wherever it might be, I look around and I still see WAY more laptops being used than tablets. The tablet is going to have to become 10x more user friendly, and 100x more powerful before it's going to topple any laptop of decent specs, Windows 8 or not.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Because with tablets selling in the tens of millions pretty much since the first iPad, you will be seeing more tablets at the airport over time simply because they are already 10X more user friendly. I believe where you and your company are making your mistake is that you're trying to replace computers with tablets rather than using them as supplemental devices. Your sales personnel need to have a means to display presentations, which a tablet can do easily. Your sales personnel need to have a means to maintain a customer database, which a tablet can do easily. Your sales personnel need a means to originate a sales contract or perhaps simply invoice a sale, which a tablet can do easily. It's how they do it that's holding you back. (Ok, I'm arguing your entire comment here.) I'm not saying the tablet is perfect for everyone; each person has specific needs which may require a full-on laptop at least for technology servicing or some such. But when mobility is the primary factor rather than massive processing power, a tablet can replace the laptop. The laptop then becomes a portable desktop rather than a mobility device.

tech
tech like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

If you have a three year plan before you start adding tablets, then sure wait on Windows 8 and see where it is. I think it would be totally irresponsible to even consider Windows 8 for business (desktop or tablet) for at least 18 months AFTER it is actually released, and probably more than two years since there are such sweeping changes. I mean one app my company uses just became Windows 7 compatible 6 months ago. For my company, it is iPad and Android Tablets all the way. At this point I don't know that I would even be willing to support Windows based phones. That may not be a problem unless they really start gaining market share.

sysop-dr
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Not sure why anyone has to be this late in the game to start using mobile devices. With half of our group using Pocket PCs for years and we have had Windows XXp tablets since they came out. It's nice to sit outside under a tree reviewing documents instead of sitting in an airless office. And you know Linux works on the same tablets just fine. Hospitals all over have been using tablets for rounds. It so nice that Apple and Android have finally joined the party but they still can't run our in house apps so we will probably stick with Windows on Intel.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Hmmm. While I can't expressly argue the point, having visited many hospitals over the last 10 years, many of them listed as 'Region's best' for some health aspect or another, I have yet to see any doctors using tablets but rather dragging around clumsy-looking carts carrying a quite-rigidly-held laptop computer. The primary reason for these is the fact that typing on them is quite easy and they do have the full version of Windows on them. This isn't to say that you are wrong, but rather that you seem to be the exception, rather than the rule. As I've said elsewhere, probably the biggest reason tablets didn't take off before the iPad was simply because Windows desktop software is not all that touch-centric. If your hospital's software is as usable as you claim, then I would wager that your hospital paid to have applications custom developed for its needs and didn't bother to share it with other health facilities around to keep 'technological superiority' over its competitors. Quite honestly, you don't need a full version of Windows to review or even edit documents while sitting under a tree. On the other hand, ease of use is critical especially in a time-sensitive environment, so modern tablets have a strong advantage over their predecessors.

workhorse07
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We are planning to upgrade all our old core 2 duo laptops with windows 8 slates. We are in touch with a device manufacturer that promises products that will couple up as work-horse laptops and mobile enough to dispel the need for tablets.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer like.author.displayName 1 Like

I don't know how many systems you plan on replacing, but I strongly suggest you have a few users test these first to see if the vendor speaks with forked tongue.

beep54
beep54 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Promises, promises. Really sorry to hear about that.

misgateway
misgateway like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

EUFI is a definite concern, especially on desktop computers, but on tablets? How many people now replace iOS on their iPads or replace the OS on their Android tablets with Linux? Is this really going to be a great barrier to purchasing a tablet? I've been running the pre-release versions of Windows 8 on a older single core Celeron laptop and it's fine. Reviews in the media about testing Win8 on some existing Windows 7 tablets has been positive. Businesses are unlikely to move to Windows 8 tablets because they are different? Different from what, Windows XP or Windows 7? So it makes more sense to adopt Android or iOS tablets because ... they are not so different from XP or Win7? Having a fleet of tablets that fully integrates with our existing Windows domain, are fully manageable by the same tools, are compatible with the same software and are built on the same underlying architecture as our current hardware - yes that's worth the wait.

RickC1961
RickC1961 like.author.displayName 1 Like

You echo my thoughts from earlier. Brilliant! ????

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I do see them wanting to put on their favourite apps and their preferred browser. The browser is NOT an issue if they prefer MS Internet Explorer, but if they want Fire Fox the UEFI lock down and restriction to the Microsoft Shop apps will mean they can't. THAT will ne a big issue for some. When the tablets are a few years old and the current owners want to sell them, then we have a MAJOR issue as according to the MS EULA you can NOT on sell the OS licence to another when you sell the hardware, so people will then have to load a new OS to keep in line with the MS EULA requirements (most of which are unlawful in most jurisdictions) and to save money they will want to load something other than Win 8. But the UEFI lock down will stop that happening.

Nitramd
Nitramd like.author.displayName 1 Like

It is the additional hurdle in time & cost of getting one's custom app signed by MS in order to get it past the EUFI, (not to mention any updates !) True OS change on a tablet not at all common, but jailbraking istuff & rooting Android is rife in order to install apps & enhance functionality. MS power over Oem's to ensure Standardistion of architecture, thus prevent the Android fragmentation mess, or limited equipment choice & walled garden of Apple is a strong card to hold. The abuse of this power with potential damage to inovation, flexability, financial costs is of real concern to us.

mckinnej
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We aren't waiting on Win8 to develop a strategy because tablets are not part of our strategy. We're a govt contractor and our networks are, ahem, "secure". Since we all know how tough it can be to keep a network secure, opening it up to personal devices is like whacking a hornet's nest and asking them politely to not sting you. If you want to use a personal device you are limited to the web apps. Software is your own problem. I realize this is a slightly different topic (BYOD), but that seems to be driving most of the tablet "buzz" these days. Getting back to this specific topic, I don't see us looking at Win8 on any platform because we just started moving from XP to Win7. I expect Win8 will be skipped just like Vista.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Not all tablet deployments have to be BYOD. Plenty of companies are deploying them via the usual IT department channels.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac like.author.displayName 1 Like

... so just because they need you 'secure' is not the only excuse for not using one. I'm not arguing your company's decisions so much as your specific reasoning since if you read articles on 'military.com' and other government sites you will find that smart phones of all types (including the iPhone) and tablets (including the iPad) are undergoing field testing even with combat units in Afghanistan and elsewhere. On the other hand, such information doesn't need to be used as an excuse to accelerate or modify your company's current upgrade cycle.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest like.author.displayName 1 Like

if the Metro GUI in Win 8 requires a heat sensitive touch screen or a pressure sensitive touch screen or does it handle both? I ask as this will affect the viability of it's use by a lot of organisations. I know of a few organisations with a lot of US national and international representation that bought some tablets for use by their staff based on what the corporate weenies in LA liked and preferred. After they bought one for all the intended users significant numbers were returned as unusable in the field. In one organisation the figure was close to a third and another had just of half of them returned. The reason being they were heat sensitive touch screens and they had MAJOR issues with staff wanting to take gloves off to use them in cold climate areas like Northern Michigan, Alaska, Canada, and a few others in winter or rainy days. Another set of cases of the decision makers NOT thinking about the field use of the hardware.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

not one for the OS itself. The screen manufacturer is responsible for making the decision to write (or not write) drivers for a new OS.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the touch screens were heat sensitive and not pressure sensitive, and no one was interested in taking their gloves off when the temperature was measured in single digits or freezing conditions - that wasn't on as they didn't want frostbite or similar.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac like.author.displayName 1 Like

I will admit I didn't know they'd licensed their technology for use on tablet PCs. I'm sure the Cross-branded one was licensed as well. Microsoft's "Surface" does look good and it does look like they at least tried to make a truly integrated device. I also like the fact that they're making it in both RC and desktop Win8 when they finally release it. However, Microsoft chose not to mention any kind of pricing, saying that they'd give that information after Win8 itself is on the market. This implies, at least, that the cost is not going to be any lower than Apple's iPad pricing for the RT version and likely no lower than the "Ultrabook" pricing for the desktop version--in other words probably in the $600 range for the first and the $1200 range for the second. I do like the keyboard cover concept on both of them, but I'm not so sure it's going to be the selling point they think it is. I noticed how they emphasized "third party keyboard" when talking about competing with the iPad when we already know the iPad can use any Bluetooth keyboard which really gives it more flexibility than a proprietary one. You still have the issue that to use the keyboard you have to set it down on a flat surface.

JJFitz
JJFitz

not plastic like the old palm pilots or the cheap signature windows at the self check-out. & It's a plastic stylus with a rocker "mouse button", an "eraser" end, and replaceable nibs (included). They are made by Wacom but I also have one sold by Cross Pen. I have only replaced the nib once on one stylus years ago. So I wore the pen nib down without damaging the screen surface. Speaking of surface... I am looking forward to the new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet with keyboard cover and pen. I am hoping the pen is not that barely useful capacitive kind you find on most tablets.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac like.author.displayName 1 Like

I've tried twice to explain that a stylus similar to those used on the old Palm Pilot (and other PDAs) would, over time, damage that soft, pressure-sensing layer. I did not say "rip, tear or shred", I merely said "damage." I know this because I have seen this happen on too many of those old PDAs. I also know as a fact that older "tablet" screens used the exact same kind of sensing layer those PDAs used and I have personally seen more than one such display "scarred" by heavy-handed users. All you have to do is go to any grocery or market store like K-mart or Walmart* and look at their card scanners that have been in place for a year or more to know what I mean. They finally get to the point that they skip and break up the sensed pen strokes which makes your signature input badly into the graphical signature area on the credit document. You, personally, may be different. You may (I said [i]may[/i] not use as much pressure as the average consumer. As a result, you may not see the same issues others do. Having been in technology since the mid-'70s, I am aware of almost all the different technologies that have come out in the last 40 years along with their advantages and disadvantages. As such, I am strongly opposed to any pressure-based stylus system that uses a screen-based pressure sensor vs a pen-based one. It's much harder to scratch glass with a plastic nub than it is to scratch plastic with one.

JJFitz
JJFitz

because none of the styli I used on any of the tablets I have owned has ever damaged the screen.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... similar to those you always got with a PDA are susceptible to that marking. If it has a soft cover layer, over time that layer wears depending on use. If there are some immune to that, I've not seen them.

JJFitz
JJFitz

I have used many different windows tablets and slates over the years. -Fujitsu Stylistic slate, Motion Computing slate, HP slate, Lenovo ThinkPad convertibles, and my Fujitsu Lifebook convertible for at least 1 year each as my mobile computer. Not one has experienced any screen damage or scratches that you noted. Who currently makes the kind of tablet you are referring to? My current tablet accepts both fat finger input and fine pressure sensitive stylus input so if I lose my stylus, I can continue to use it with my finger as a tablet or I can use it like a laptop until I get my spare $25 replacement stylus out of my laptop bag or one of the old styli from my office desk. I still have all of my older tablets and the Wacom ones work on my current Lifebook.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

The majority of pressure-sensitive screens require a soft surface layer for the stylus to make its impression as such, with heavy use the screen would retain lines and marks as indentations on their surface which over time would reduce its effectiveness as a contact surface. Of course, this does not include such touch capabilities as Wacom's pressure-sensitive stylus where the sensor is in the stylus rather than the screen itself. However, with a Wacom-like system, you had to ensure you never misplaced the stylus or broke it or you would be stuck without any touch capability until you could replace it.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The Fujitsu Lifebook Tablets can support capacitive (finger) and resistive (stylus) input. I'm using Win 8 RP on my 3 year old Lifebook and it is working great. Both finger and stylus input work very well. I use my fingers for gross screen movement and the stylus for finer work such as drawing network diagrams and taking notes. I'm not sure where Vulpine is getting his information about scratched screens from stylus input because you would never know that I use a stylus if you saw my screen. However, I know you can purchase a replaceable screen overlay in matte or smooth finish. I tried one out on a Fujitsu slate years ago. I just don't find them necessary. I don't know of any heat sensitive screens.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac like.author.displayName 1 Like

I don't believe IR touchscreens are even in use any more except in certain 'kiosk' applications; most non-stylus touch is capacitive and far more accurate and sensitive than IR. I also believe that most stylus-based touchscreens will also be capacitive as pressure-based contact typically damages the viewing surface over time which would force more frequent display/device replacement. That said, even capacitive would have problems in cold climes when wearing gloves, but there has been work on making capacitive contact gloves specifically for that purpose. The technology is still relatively new so not everybody has realized every situation where such a tablet may be used.