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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Media Tablets: More than ‘Executive Jewelry’

At a recent industry event, I was asked if I agreed with the term "executive jewelry" to describe media tablets.

I'd argue that most people who pre-ordered or stood in line to buy the first generation media tablets (iPad) when they hit the market back in May 2010, were probably…on some level… looking for at least a little bit of attention by sporting the latest tech fashion (aka jewelry), myself included. But generally speaking, I wouldn't agree that media tablets are synonymous with executive jewelry, for two key reasons.

1. Tablets can be viewed as pricey, but certainly are not out of reach for many employees besides executives. And while executives are well-suited to leveraging these devices, in fact, consumers make up the bulk of users on these devices today. Since media tablets cost hundreds, not thousands of dollars, they are accessible to more than just high-rolling C-levels.

2. Beyond the sizzle and flare of owning a Tablet, these devices have much more to offer beyond their ornamental value - they're practical. SAP’s iPad deployment provides a perfect example. The company has rolled the devices out to its North American management team, including the Canadian office, to gain access to real-time business data while in presentations or meetings, to quickly access work email and documents, to review sales info and trends, and to provide more engaging and visual demonstrations with clients. But it's not just management teams using them: field workers are using them, so are restaurants, teachers, and doctors. However, there is still a lot of education to be done, as many end users are still unaware of all the ways they could use these devices in their personal and professional lives. This lack of understanding could be leading some people to quickly dismiss them as "jewelry".

So I'd say that "executive jewelry" is a poor term to describe media tablets. The devices are not just for executives, and they are more practical (and I'd argue increasingly necessary) than shiny jewelry that has limited function and features.


  1. Definitely agree. While the nerd in me loves the "shiny new gadget" factor, a couple conferences with an iPad proved the efficacy of the format, if not that particular incarnation of it. Enough to actually convince me to buy a Dell Streak (for one day...that thing's just too big for a phone).

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