New Lenovo Windows 8 Tablet Hopes to Secure IT Interest
Windows 8 is rolling out on October 26, 2012, with Microsoft hoping their new, streamlined OS will be a big hit with both consumers and businesses alike. In an effort to cover all their bases, it's not just PCs that are getting the Windows 8 treatment but tablets as well, including the new Lenovo Windows 8 tablet, also known as the ThinkPad Tablet 2. Scheduled for a release on the same day as the new OS, Lenovo is hoping to capture IT interest with a number of features that deviate from the consumer norm.
An IT State of Mind
Much has been made about the efforts of midsize and enterprise IT professionals to address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. With employees now expecting not only to use mobile technology at work but use their own devices, IT admins have their work cut out for them when it comes to securing networks and regulating access; according to an August 9, 2012, article at InformationWeek, the new Lenovo Windows 8 tablet is being designed specifically with IT in mind.
In addition to consumer-friendly features like a full-sized USB port, HD display, and two cameras, the Tablet 2 also includes encrypted storage, an optional fingerprint reader, and full support for Microsoft's back-end management and security technologies. Dilip Bhatia, Lenovo's ThinkPad business unit VP says that tablet not only appeals to consumers but also offers IT managers "the oversight they need to help secure and manage their company's networks and data."
Not all tablet providers are standing behind Windows 8, however, especially after Microsoft's decision to release its own tablet, the Surface. Hardware maker Acer, for example, is considering distancing itself from Microsoft and finding a new software partner; Campbell Kan, Acer's president of global operations wonders, "if Microsoft . . . is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?"
For midsize IT admins, a tablet that gives better control over employee access is something to consider, but it remains to be seen if what Lenovo is offering is really a cut above or just a consumer sheep in IT wolf's clothing. Much like the impending Windows 8 release, is there more hype than hope?
A recent ITProPortal article also discusses the upcoming OS release, and makes the prediction that enterprise-level companies won't begin using Windows 8 on a large scale for at least five to seven years. In part, this is because Windows 7 has support through to 2020 and its server OSs—from 2008 R2 to 2012—that will get upgraded first. Roll in the decreasing number of desktop PCs and rise of tablets and it's almost a sure bet that IT admins aren't going to be chomping at the bit to burn down their current Windows 7 deployment and replace it with an 8 solution.
If you want further proof of a non-desktop direction, take a look at the Metro UI (though it appears Microsoft will be changing its name before launch). The tile-based interface is clearly designed with touchscreens (can you say tablets?) in mind, and while by all accounts it is much easier to use than the traditional Windows UI, it has stirred up the ire of more than a few IT professionals.
There's no question that the Windows 8 launch will be huge for Microsoft, but for midsize IT, there's value in letting the hype pass by and waiting for the OS to iron out its bugs. A full-scale operating system replacement isn't cost-effective or warranted, however, and while new IT-focused tablets like the ThinkPad 2 offer a number of ways to better control employee access and manage network security, there isn't yet a compelling reason to force a switch—good things come to OS who wait.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter