Motorola Solutions is trying to break new ground with the first tablet ‘designed for enterprise’.
The company’s ET1 tablet was shown exclusively to TabTimes at an event in London yesterday, and Paul Reed, Motorola’s regional product manager for the EMEA, explained the features of the new device.
Reed first stressed that the ET1 is a tablet for managers who are more focused on task activities, rather than just for accessing internet or email.
The tablet has a 7” 1024 x 600 resolution resistive touch display, supports the Android 2.3.4 operating system and features a dual-core 1GHz processor. The model has connections for USB, HDMI and a micro SD card slot (4GB card included, support for cards up to 32GB), while there is a module on the rear for LAN connectors or RFID readers.
The ET1 is 30% thicker than traditional tablets but, at 1.4lbs, weighs the same as an iPad 1 in a case. Unusually, the display, which features Corning’s Gorilla Glass, is regressed into the bezel – meaning that no pressure is applied to the display when the tablet is placed face down.
The tablet has programmable buttons on the front and rear. The P1, P2 and P3 buttons on the front can be customised for instant access to corporate email or store metrics for example, while there are another two customisable buttons on the rear. All of these buttons can be customised for different functions, and by different users.
Motorola’s ET1 has dual cameras; a front-facing low resolution 640 x 480 resolution camera, and a 8MP camera on the rear. These are controlled by two buttons – also on the rear – giving barcode reading capabilities.
Reed said that the ET1 allows for ‘multi-roll’ use, offering unique log-in details to more than one member of staff. This enables the tablet to be used throughout the day. The log-in details also ensure that staff only see the data they are meant to see.
The data is managed centrally, using Motorola’s Mobility Services Platform (MSP). This portal can be used to view and control the device, push new apps to the product and even install software and operating system updates.
The ET1 has a hot-swappable, laptop-sized 4.2Ah lithium ion battery, allowing the tablet to be used continuously throughout the day, and comes included with a services contract, ensuring that the tablet can be repaired or replaced, for a monthly charge.
“The removable battery option is key, as most consumer batteries are integrated. Using these tablets, businesses could lose up to three hours of the working day”, said Reed.
Reed believes that the tablet can be used for retail, transport, logistics, healthcare and education. The ET1 is IP54 sealed which means it can be wiped down, and the Motorola spokesman said that this makes it ideal for use on drugs trolleys.
Reed was keen to explain the decision to adopt the Android operating system. He said that Motorola has traditionally offered Windows CE or Windows Mobile on mobile devices, but said that Android promises ‘enhanced data encryption’, through the device and the 1GB microSD card. “With Android, we can also offer the device at a certain price point and performance. “Also, as consumers, we’re used to the look and feel of Android, and this results in a reduced cost of training”.
The tablet does not feature Android Market and does not come with any applications on purchase. Applications can be found through Independent Software Vendor scheme and Rho Elements, Motorola's new HTML5-based developer scheme, that allows applications to work on Motorola devices running Windows Mobile, Windows CE or Android.
The ET1 will come to market in January 2012 for a list price of $1,595 but Reed said that larger roll-outs could result in a reduced unit price of $1,000. Bezels can be customised with a various different colours and logos and optional accessories include stands, belt and shoulder holsters, a handstrap and a Bluetooth keyboard. The tablet comes with a one-year warranty.