Hailing the Enterprise

Starting with RIM’s PlayBook and followed by HP’s Touchpad, much has been made about tailoring these devices to the enterprise market. Lenovo will be entering this arena with it’s ThinkPad Tablet in the coming weeks; and they have been trumpeting the enterprise features of their offering, mainly device deployment and manageability offered through back-end services, as well as hardware based encryption. As it turns out, Samsung has beaten them to the punch with a product already a few months old. Samsung announced their Open For Business initiative today, a collection of software and hardware services available for the 10.1 that should make the device more appealing to corporations looking to deploy Android tablets into their workforce. 

As expected, device manageability is the key feature that will appeal to IT tech, including the ability to remotely wipe and control all possible features of the device using either the Sybase Afaria or Microsoft ActiveSync protocols. Hardware based AES256 encryption is present on the device and, in what Samsung is calling a first, SSL VPN support is being offered. More front facing additions include “blown out” support for Microsoft Exchange’s Contact, Calendar and E-mail services, along with optimized versions of Cisco WebEx and PolyCom Video Conferencing for video collaboration. It’s unclear how many of these features are dependent on this update or whether these were just features that hadn’t actually been announced, but if you’re in charge of IT purchasing and everyone’s banging on your door to get a tablet, this could push the 10.1 over the edge.  


Despite their rabid devotion to them, manufacturer's haven't made a lot of friends by offering skinned Android phones. There are only a handful of top tier phones that offer a pure Android experience; and now these layered experiences are arriving on tablets. But where the redundancy and sluggishness inspired by most phone skins are layered atop an otherwise satisfying and lauded user interface, Honeycomb is not nearly so refined as Gingerbread so it's hard to mar the experience just by adding widgets and some new applications. 
TouchWiz UX on the 10.1 is a relatively benign experience, it is neither offensive nor supremely satisfying. If properly built out, the MiniApps and resizable widgets framework could add a lot of utility to Samsung's tablet line-up. The enterprise features will help improve Honeycomb's penetration into the burgeoning corporate tablet market. And the media content offered by Samsung's Media Hub is a nice addition, particularly if they begin providing the content across platforms; imagine Media Hub built-in to your latest Samsung TV or BluRay player.
Where TouchWiz UX really gets me going, is in the potential evident from these additions, that developers have yet to realize. Social Hub is good, but wouldn't a resizable widget for TweetDeck be incredible? Tablets are here to stay, whether their utility is fully realized yet or not. And for better or worse, the two biggest tablet OS competitors will be iOS and Android; let's hope that developers start to push through inspiring applications that ensure that Apple doesn't let iOS rest on its laurels, but continue to advance how we compute on the go. 
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  • migfig - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    And your closing statement for TouchWiz on Honeycomb is about Appple? smh
  • zeagus - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    I think it's a valid point. The only competition is Apple, and the ending thought, though perhaps strangely structured is that the author hopes this helps Android devs to be able to do amazing things to compete and to keep the level of competition high so we, as consumers win. They need to do something, since the numbers backtracking game shows that something like 964 of every 1000 tablet pageviews on the web is viewed from an iPad.
  • amf66 - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    Did you even read the last paragraph? It's about how competition is good and how he hopes that innovation in Android will force Apple to innovate as well.

    Lurk moar.
  • FlyBri - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    TouchWiz is not the first skinned Honeycomb experience...the Asus Transformer had the first skinned Honeycomb experience. It might have been lightly skinned, but skinned nonetheless.
  • mlj11 - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    "Samsung is also launching a device recovery service, courtesy of their Samsung Dive website... This service is premiering on the 10.1 but will be available on future Samsung handsets and tablets."

    Incorrect. This has been available on my international SGSII out of the box.

    Also, I think Samsung's Bada phones may have had access to it even earlier.
  • mongo lloyd - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    Yeah. It's been available on the original SGS (international version) for a while as well.
  • solipsism - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    … it's about the competition getting a real slice of the tablet market. The way things are going and the aggressiveness Apple showed at their iPad 2 special event earlier this year points to Apple wanting the iPad to be another iPod in market dominance, not an iPhone.

    Even though the iPhone does take 2/3rds of the world's handset profits Apple move is clearly to make the tablet market an iPad market with not only revenue and profit domination, but unit marketshare domination. A natural monopoly. The window for non-Apple tablets is closing.

    If Apple can release a 2048x1536 iPad for the same price points it's a done deal for the foreseeable future.
  • JasonInofuentes - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    We're hoping that's not the case. As Brian has pointed out, the lead time on tech innovation has typically been about 15-18 months. This appears to be getting faster. In addition, the fierceness of the competition has made each of these manufacturer's try harder, both in the phone and tablet space. HTC is putting out some stunning designs with a variety of body types and construction techniques. Motorola has produced consistently effective designs and strived to stretch Android beyond the phone with WebTop. Samsung has produced a stunning device that will, eventually, be available on every US carrier, as it did with the first Galaxy S. Even LG has strived to innovate with the first dual-core phone (ostensibly) and the first 3D phone.

    So basically, as much as my review ends on a bit of a down note, every single one of these manufacturers is running on all eight cylinders. They are racing to the finish, and we're going to get to enjoy the ride.
  • name99 - Saturday, August 6, 2011 - link

    You're assuming that people buy tablets because of the hardware. This seems a dubious assumption.

    What Apple HAD in the past was
    - hardware that worked well and did not feel cheap. The competitors are headed there but aren't there yet
    - software that worked well. The competitors aren't close to that (read this review, which is full of apologies for crashes, slowness, poor resource usage), and by the time they have reached where Apple is now, iOS will be at version 5.
    - a media infrastructure that works well. Android still doesn't have that; what they have is a bunch of more or less lame media player apps, and a completely fragmented media market.

    What Apple WILL have soon is iCloud, not in the stupid sense of a smarter dropbox, but in the sense of an infrastructure (servers, protocols, APIs, design patterns) to allow apps on multiple devices to synchronize their behavior. Naturally Android (and MS) will try to copy it, but once again they will be lagging Apple by a year.
  • cr1b - Sunday, August 7, 2011 - link

    Win 98 is fast but its very ugly. The same on iOS. Comeon man iOS only have to show 5 screens of icons with no widggets or animations and for the price of the devices its the minimal result that they can deliver.

    I give you the web browsing experience witch in better but no more.

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