Enterprise tablet ready for business
R Colin Johnson
10/10/2011 12:01 AM EDT
PORTLAND, Ore.—Touchscreen tablets for the enterprise were unveiled by Motorola Solutions Inc., maker of push-to-talk radios and ruggedized wireless terminals for enterprises as diverse as first responders, warehouse managers and point-of-sale clerks.
The new Enterprise Tablet (ET1) joins a family of wireless terminals that allow fire-fighters to see around corners, buyers to visualize their entire supply chain, and salesmen to assess their inventory, display product features, and make sales by scanning barcodes and credit cards.
"Our tablet puts the familiarity and popularity of the consumer-class iPad into in a nearly indestructible device using WiFi to provide situational awareness to enterprises like retailers, health care, hospitality, factory floor, and other users within the four walls of a business," said Suhas Uliyar, chief solutions architect in Motorola Solutions' Mobile Computing division. "Future wireless wide-area-network versions will also target service organizations, direct store delivery and other field-mobility personnel."
The ET1 includes all the "cool factor" features of an iPad—from a touchscreen user-interface to an app-for-that OS—but packed in a ruggedized enclosure with a removable bezel that can be customized with the logos of each enterprise customer. Made to operate continuously, 24/7, the ET1 has extra-thick Corning Gorilla-Glass to survive repeated drops without damage. A secure software system allows the ET1 to be shared among personnel who can instantly log-in between shifts to re-provision it with the particular apps for which they are authorized. A separate charging station allows hot-swapping of battery packs with up to 15 minutes to make the switch without memory loss.
Motorola's Enterprise Tablet (ET1) will only be sold to businesses who will supply the device to sales personnel for on-the-spot wireless pre-purchase information, demos, and other point-of-sale functions including credit-card purchases.
The ET1 runs what Motorola Solutions (Schaumburg, Ill.), calls a "hardened" secure version of the Android operating system, and comes with a suite of built-in apps already familiar to its Windows-based handheld users, which enterprises can personalize for their businesses, including assisted selling, mobile point of sale, manager electronic dashboards, planogram management, and Item locator.
Motorola also announced an new HTML5 app development environment called RhoElements that allows enterprise customers to develop new apps that will run on the ET1 under Android or on Motorola's other wireless devices running the Windows Embedded Handheld operating system (formerly known as Windows Mobile) or the Windows Embedded Compact OS.
A full palette of accessories enable the ET1 to address nearly any enterprise application including Bluetooth-connected bar-code scanners, mobile-payment readers, mobile printers and a variety of hand-straps, belt-holsters, and man-purses. Available with Motorola's Service-from-the-Start comprehensive warranty coverage, the ET1 will be available in time for Christmas in the fourth quarter of 2011.