“Begun the Tablet Wars Have”

If you follow the mobile industry media at all, you’ve probably seen the competition in the tablet market heating up. I can’t help but chuckle when I see some of the approaches being taken to promote tablets. I have one question, is the intent to design a user market that conforms to a product, or to build products that meet demands of users? I find it frustrating that some seem to feel that there is only right answer, “clone what already exists and force it down our throat”. Which would make sense if we were all exact clones of one another, I guess?

What I love about the mobile industry is that solutions are not binary. There is no one right solution for everybody and for every use case, despite what some marketing folks might want you go believe. I guess you can try and change everyone to have the same opinion so there is only one right solution, that would make things a lot easier.

“Blind we are, if creation of this clone army we could not see”, Yoda.
“Blind we are, if creation of this fan boy army we could not see”, Me

Reality is that the mobile market is analog, where there is a range of “right” solutions that match user and corporate preferences and requirements. There is no simple right/wrong in today’s mobile market. The mobile market is probably one of the most diverse markets in terms of personal preference and range of solution requirements.

“Always in motion is the future”, Yoda.

If you spend too much time standing still defending what you have today as the only right answer, the future will pass you by. One of my favorite quotes from a previous company exec, “The truth changes”, and it changes quickly.

There are a number of key drivers that make up the analog spectrum of the mobile market:

Device Size

I see device size as the starting point for a lot of people when making a decision about which device (handheld or tablet) to choose. Size is both a tactical and personal decision. Companies may decide to standardize on a certain device type because it fits in a doctors pocket or fits nicely on the dash of their truck fleet. People may simply think that a certain device size is “cooler” that another based on it’s size.

Interesting point made by Seth Weintraub of tech.fortune.cnn.com

“I don’t think of the Tab as a direct competitor to the iPad because its smaller size makes it more of a hand-held device, rather than a lap/lean back experience that the iPad is optimized for. But comparisons will be made.”

I heard very similar comments while attending CTIA Enterprise and Apps earlier this month where users found both 7″ and 10″ tablets useful. It was very common to see people not only demoing the onscreen features of the Samsung Galaxy Tab at the event, but also demoing that it would fit in their pockets, something obviously an iPad can’t do (usually, unless you have really large pockets). Having multiple size choices is a good thing, because we can then choose which is best for our purpose.

Having been able to try both the Samsung Tab and the iPad over the last month or so, I agree with Seth’s earlier quote. While at home on my couch, I love having the iPad sitting on the end table next to my couch, call it the electronic magazine rack use case. But I found that when I left the house to go to my sons basketball game, or to a ball game I found the smaller Samsung Tab to be the best fit (DirectTV app to watch football games while with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop at a baseball game, priceless!!!). So I was lucky enough to not have to choose, and enjoyed having both sizes. Email is great on both as well.

Network

Choice of network carrier has obviously become a big factor in choosing a device for a lot of people. Again, there is not one “right” network for everyone. Network decisions usually fall into two initial categories, “I travel a lot” or “I rarely leave the county I live in”.
People that don’t travel a lot tend to make their decision based on what carrier has the best network in their local area. Who cares what coverage a carrier has in Denver CO, when they never travel outside of the Pittsburg PA area.

Heavy travelers also have more decisions to make, such as do I travel outside of the US a lot which brings in the GSM vs CDMA choice as well as world phones/devices. If most of the travel is inside the US, the decision is then probably more based on coverage in the cities/regions you are most commonly visit.

Cost of coverage is also an obvious decision point to consider when choosing a network. But remember that coverage is directly related to cost, especially if you tend to travel to areas where you will incur roaming charges

Apps

The mobile apps debate can be a holy war for some people. How important apps are varies greatly among users.

Basic users really only want the basic functionality of a good phone, email access and messaging. Basic users really don’t put much weight on “what’s in or how many apps are in the app store”. They simply want a solid phone with base requirements that for the most part, all of today’s smart phones meet. My wife is the classic case study for this category; she doesn’t care about what other apps she can run. So what type of devices does my wife have? Well that’s one of the points of this article, it doesn’t matter She would be satisfied with any of the current smart phone platforms. If she wanted a tablet, here decision would most likely be based on the size of the device she liked most, not the app store.

Core users tend to want a basic set of extension applications added on top of what the Basic users require. Apps like GPS, media players, social network connectivity, some games, usually a quality camera, book reader, corporate access and good web browser as a start. They aren’t as concerned with additional apps as long as they have decent choice of the core apps. This class of users have it made! They have a wide variety of devices across the solution spectrum that meets their requirements.

App power users are users that have truly adopted mobile computing, replacing classic devices such as laptops and netbooks with tablets or even handhelds. They require a selection of applications closer to the choice they have/had on their laptop. The number of applications in a store is not the key for power users, but the selection of applications they need to solve problems is key. This starts to narrow down the fields in terms of what platforms meet their needs.

App Fanatics are they type of users where the number of applications they have installed on their device is a status symbol. Having more pages of applications on their devices than their friends is more important than actually using the apps. App Fanatics tend to be “fan boys” of a particular platform and their device decisions tend to be more based social belonging than any of the other factor. They tend to have the least choice of devices for obvious reasons.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All!

There is no one size fits all device in today’s mobile market for a number of reasons including the above. It’s an analog market where diverse choice is demanded by the consumer and corporate world. Big vendors will obviously do their best to try and shoehorn your decision with normal myopic marketing messages explaining why their solution is the only “right” solution, while ignoring their offering’s weaknesses until they have had time to correct them, at which point “The truth will change again”, or at least their marketing messages will.

“Always remember, Your focus determines your reality.”, Qui-Gon Jinn.

It’s easier to change someone’s focus and perception than to change the reality of your product, gotta love marketing

At the end of all of this, Citrix’s plan with Citrix Receiver is not binary, it is truly an analog approach giving users and corporations choice to decide which device and which network makes the most sense for them. So when you do decide which devices (yes, that’s plural) best meet your corporate needs, Citrix Receiver will be ready for you.

Sounds like the Any Device, Any Network, Anywhere, Any Time marketing slogan trying to change your reality doesn’t it!

Learn more about Citrix Receiver and your choices!
For the ever expanding list of CitrixReady mobile devices, check out the CitrixReady Catalog.
Want to try the Citrix Receiver and get a reality check? Check out the Citrix DemoCloud