Following the proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google a few months back, I wrote a post that described my views on the potential impact of this deal on the enterprise market. Seen by many as Android’s champion in the enterprise, I fully expected to see a series of Motorola devices coming to market that redefined the market – combining consumer appeal with IT-friendly features.
Fast forward to today and it is in fact Motorola Solutions, rather than Motorola Mobility, that has taken up the challenge with the launch of the ET1 tablet. The tablet, however, is unlikely to find much appeal amongst C-level executives or the mobile workforce, nor was it intended to, as this device is to be sold to employers for use by shop floor employees.
The seven inch enterprise tablet features specifications to rival the latest high-end consumer-focused devices on the market, including front and back cameras, Wi-Fi, a 1GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of system memory running and the Android v2.3.4 (Gingerbread) operating system. However, hot-swappable batteries, lack of cellular support and lack of access to the Android market show its true colours.
The device is pre-loaded with key applications for its target market including product comparison tools, manager dashboards, mobile POS and item location tools. This is clearly ideal for IT departments who want to avoid the security issues traditionally associated with the mobilization of the workforce.
Those companies wishing to offer additional applications built in-house will be required to use the tablets HTML5 compatible web browser, combined with a new web-based application development tool called RhoElements, to roll these out.
The advantage of this approach, in addition to security and employee control, is that these applications will also run across existing Windows Embedded Handheld and Windows CE devices already present within the workplace.
With a price tag of $1,000 for bulk orders, the ET1 tablet is clearly targeting those employers in key verticals; however I struggle to see why I wouldn’t buy an iPad, a durable case and a custom HTML5 solution instead.