iPad, Android or Surface: which tablet should you pick for your sales reps ?
Tablets are unquestionably a tool that will foster greater productivity for your sales teams, but it is often a struggle to know which one to choose when you embark on the process. While it may be tempting to base your tablet choice on the telephones you use (iPad if your sales reps have iPhones, for example), this sizable investment should be based on specific criteria related to your IT department, technical infrastructure, budget and goals and how your sales agents will use the device.
When you rule out the handful of products that are ineffective or unusable, there are no bad decisions: a tablet will always be a tool that supercharges your sales team’s effectiveness provided it is packed with the right applications. All you have to do is find the right equipment for your needs based on how you will use it.
iPad: user experience, design and quality
The iPad is certainly at the high end of the tablet market. With a range that is updated regularly, the iPad offers many possibilities for (nearly) any budget. From the compactness of the iPad mini to the excellent value of the Air 2 model to the professional range with enhanced processing power and special accessories like a stylus or keyboard, Apple gives professionals an array of choices.
Why go for the iPad ?
Because the perceived quality leaves no room for doubt and the user experience is above reproach, an iPad will always impress the customer. The iPad is at the heart of an ecosystem that includes many apps and it comes with simple connectivity, ease of use and lots of accessories to meet your needs.
Although Apple’s advertising is always focused on the latest iPad model, the product line is more expansive than you may think. You do not necessarily have to invest in the latest version because the older versions can be bought at a great price with a solid return on investment. Finally, you get high-quality support and good longevity thanks to well managed software and hardware integration and a robust operating system.
What are the drawbacks ?
Price is definitely a discouraging factor and quality – perceived or real – comes at a cost. An iPad will always be bought “as is” with no real possibility to add extra physical memory, for example. It is an attractive, but “all-in-one” product whose uses and functions must be planned out.
Android: versatility, price and options
Android tablets offer buyers myriad choices. The mobile operating system is developed by Google and the tablets are manufactured by several independent companies, such as Sony, Asus, Huawei and Lenovo, just to name a few. This strategy results in unmatched options, from ultra-low cost to very high-end with a variety of screen sizes and features. Most Android tablets comes with multiple connectivity options, including file transfer support through USB or micro-SD ports or video presentations using HDMI, micro-HDMI or MHL technology, even though the technical capacities or features can vary according to the product you choose.
Why go for an Android tablet ?
The many configuration options and myriad choices ensure maximum compatibility with your fundamental needs. Some Android tablets offer excellent value for the money and some manufacturers put a lot of effort into building top-of-range products that have no cause to be jealous of Apple. Android tablets are generally designed to be modular with the ability to add memory or accessories supported by a robust operating system that, logically, works seamlessly with Gsuite, which you may already be using in your organization (Gmail, Google Drive, etc.).
What are the drawbacks ?
Because all tablets are different, making the right choice can be a challenge. Some tablets are truly limited in technical terms and there is a huge gap between these and the most powerful models. You will need to explore many options before you find the right one, not to mention that some products are not totally compatible with the Android ecosystem and the perceived image is often somewhat low-end. Projection connectivity options are sometimes quite fragmented and not very user friendly. Plus the large number of brands does not make it easy to find the right accessories for your tablets. The accessories are not always fully compatible with each other and many must be plugged into an outlet, which instantly limits their portability or ease of use.
Finally, with Android it can be hard to manage models and versions because sometimes you have to wait several months for a manufacturer to authorize the updates for their devices. Plus, some versions may not be compatible with your tablet. Thus, the choice of device is crucial, especially if you have a limited IT department or you do not want to overburden it.
Microsoft signaled its arrival on the business touchscreen tablet market with the Surface. It is a very appealing, differentiating solution with a dual touchscreen laptop/tablet function. The resulting hybrid affects its price, perceived image and the user experience.
Why go for the Surface ?
Clearly adapted to the Windows environment, the Surface is the perfect solution to combine the best of both worlds: a fully functional computer with the Office 365 suite of applications, for example, and a more mobile approach with a touchscreen tablet.
The perceived quality and robust image are undeniable and Windows 10 users will never be lost. The Surface could even replace a laptop for some positions thanks to elaborate connectivity and native software designed for the device. With or without a keyboard or stylus, Office and Windows run perfectly on it.
What are the drawbacks ?
As a latecomer to the tablet market, the native app marketplace for Surface is more limited than those for Apple and Android applications. As both a computer and a tablet, it is more substantial than a traditional tablet, but also a bit heavier. Windows 10, like its predecessors Windows 8 and 8.1, can be unwieldy at the outset and the user experience is still less than ideal. With an overall price that is somewhat high, its part-tablet/part-computer positioning limits the touchscreen effect when interacting with customers and, consequently, the overall integration of the product in the presentation.
Although choosing a tablet is important, what matters most is that its use is optimized and adapted to how your sales reps work. Tablets are important tools that play a decisive role in your perceived image, but what will really affect your sales team’s effectiveness are the applications you make available to them. This means the software suite is an important criterion and you must find the right balance to ensure that you are using the best possible device to ramp up your business !
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