Why the 8" tablet is still the ideal size

Saturday, April 25, 2015

If you're looking for a tablet that will replace your laptop, then you'll probably want something that has a 10 to 12" screen and attach a keyboard. However, if you're like a growing number of people who are using a smartphone, a laptop, and a tablet, then the 8" form factor is the ideal size. That's what I've found whether I'm working in the office, traveling, or catching up on emails and reading articles at home. I don't attach a keyboard to my 8" tablet. If I need to do that much typing, then I'd rather pull out my laptop.

Medical students and residents wearing white coats in the hospitals will also tell you that most 8" tablets fit nicely in their white coat pockets. No pocket modifications required.

As more people start switching to monster-size phablets instead of smaller smartphones, the role of the 8" tablet could disappear since larger phablets like the Galaxy Note 4 or iPhone 6 Plus offer plenty of productivity space on the screen.

Win an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's the last week of January, so to celebrate the end of a very special month, we're running a contest here on MobileHealthComputing.com and we're giving away a brand new HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC!

The HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC is a tiny little PC that fits almost anywhere, but don't let it's miniature size fool you. It has the full computing horsepower of many modern workstations and it's an enterprise-class device that runs Windows 7 or Windows 8. The HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC comes with an integrated wireless antenna for Wi-Fi access and also supports multiple monitors. Notice how this computer has 3 total video ports on the back: 1 is standard VGA and 2 are DisplayPort with Multi-Stream video outputs. So, you could set up 3 separate monitors and plug them all into this single PC. The EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini also has 4 USB ports on the back and 2 USB ports on the front.

To win an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC this week, share a few sentences (along with an optional photo or video) and explain how a tiny space-saving PC would improve your office workflow and productivity.

Submit your entry via email to jkim@mobilehealthcomputing.com and make the subject line: HP EliteDesk 800 Contest. The contest here on MobileHealthComputing.com starts at 10 pm ET on Sunday January 25, 2015 and will end at 11:59 pm ET on Saturday January 31, 2015. The winner will be notified the week of February 1.

You don't need to be a medical or health care professional to enter this contest here on MobileHealthComputing.com. We will accept one entry per household.

If you don't happen to win here on MobileHealthComputing.com, you can find additional chances to win an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 Mini PC in February 2015. Those upcoming contests will start on these websites:

-Feb 1: ActiveWin.com
-Feb 8: ChipChick.com
-Feb 15: GearLive.com

Good luck!

Microsoft will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 (for the first year)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Windows 10 is an intriguing new operating system. It's being designed to run on a smartphone, a tablet, or a desktop. Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade on PCs running Windows 7 or 8.1 for the first year. Here's how they've positioned it:
Free Upgrade Offer
Great news! We will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year!* And even better: once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge. Sign up with your email today, and we will send you more information about Windows 10 and the upgrade offer in the coming months.
I'm certainly eager to see how the final version of Windows 10 blends all the essential features that many of us have grown accustomed to using on a daily basis. The Start Menu. Touch screen navigation. Apps. A preview version of Windows 10 "in-development" called Windows 10 Technical Preview is available for enthusiasts and IT professionals who want to explore the future of computing.

New tablet PCs that support active digitizer pens

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Here are a few new tablet PCs that recently caught my attention because they are powered by the latest Intel Core M processor and they also support an active digitizer pen. Support for an active pen is certainly an enterprise feature since most consumer tablets lack this feature or option.

The Toshiba Portégé Z20t Ultrabook is a 12.5" tablet and it looks like the keyboard is backlit. You don't always find a backlit keyboard on most convertible tablet/laptop configurations.

Lenovo has updated their ThinkPad Helix with a 2nd generation model. It's called the ThinkPad Helix 2nd Gen, so don't mix it up with the 1st generation Helix which is still being sold on the Lenovo website. The Helix is an 11.6" tablet and the 2nd Gen model has been redesigned and appears to fit into 2 different keyboard configurations.
 

The HP Elite x2 1011 has an 11.6" display and the HP Pro x2 612 has a 12.5" display. Both appear to support 2 different keyboard configurations and also an active Wacom pen.

Here's a brief tip about the active digitizer pens: some are more reliable than others. Some require a battery in the pen. Others use a magnetic tip and don't require a battery. Leading manufacturers of digitizer pen technologies include: Wacom, N-Trig, Atmel, Synaptics, and others. PC manufacturers may switch from one type of pen technology to another. For example, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 pen is a Wacom pen. The Surface Pro 3 is an N-Trig pen. Lenovo generally seems to stick with Wacom pens. HP has used pens made by Wacom, N-Trig, and Atmel. Dell has sold tablet PCs powered by pens made by Wacom and Synaptics.

HP ElitePad 1000 G2 review

Saturday, November 8, 2014

For the past several weeks, I've had the opportunity to review the HP ElitePad 1000 G2 tablet PC running Windows 8.1. This is HPs 2nd generation ElitePad tablet PC - a very thin, light tablet that incorporates a modular design so that you can expand its capabilities by adding an Expansion Jacket, a Security Jacket, or a Productivity Jacket. You can also get a desktop docking station with multiple expansion ports or a rugged case (which may be very important in the health care setting).

At 9.2 mm thin and 1.5 lbs in weight, the ElitePad is one of the lightest and thinnest Windows 8.1 tablet PCs on the market.

In 2013, I reviewed the 1st generation HP ElitePad 900 and even compared some of its physical features to an iPad 3. At a glance, the ElitePad might remind someone of an iPad because it has a thin design, curved edges, and the colors are similar. Of course, comparing Windows 8.1 to iOS is like comparing a pickup truck to a bicycle.

The newer ElitePad 1000 looks almost identical to the older ElitePad 900. The biggest difference in appearance is that HP replaced the physical Windows button on the front with a capacitive button in the newer version. The HP logo on the back is also larger on the newer version.

The newer ElitePad 1000:
  • Performs much faster. The 3rd generation Intel Atom processor (Z3795) performs very nicely and still delivers very long battery life. The ElitePad 1000 runs a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 and also supports enterprise-level encryption and security features (which is critical for enterprise health care users).
  • Uses a newer Atmel digital stylus pen (HP Executive Tablet Pen G2) that writes very nicely. Many physicians and nurses rely on pen-based input and also use their tablets to take notes.
  • Has a higher screen resolution at 1920 x 1200 (compared to 1280 x 800 on the original ElitePad).
Overall, the newer ElitePad 1000 is a very nice option for someone who is looking for a modular Windows 8 tablet that is thin, light, and delivers all-day battery life.

Those who have used tablets powered by earlier Intel Atom processors (1st or 2nd generation) may have some concerns about performance. The 3rd generation Intel Atom processor is fast, but it's still not as fast as Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors. Keep in mind that the ElitePad won't get hot, it doesn't require a fan for cooling, and it will last all day. 

Some have asked me to compare the ElitePad to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, so here are some of my thoughts:
  • Surface Pro 3 is faster, but it has shorter real-world battery life compared to the ElitePad. Surface Pro 3  may also run a bit warm/hot when you're holding it in your hand.
  • ElitePad offers multiple docking and expansion sleeve options for greater flexibility as a tablet. 
  • Surface Pro 3 has a built-in kickstand to hold the tablet up for viewing and for using on your lap. 
  • ElitePad is smaller and lighter by approx 0.25 lbs. Surface Pro 3 has a larger 12" screen vs. the 10.1" screen on the ElitePad. 
  • ElitePad offers built-in 4G LTE wireless. Surprisingly, the Surface Pro 3 does not offer built-in 4G.
  • Digitizer pens: Surface Pro 3 uses a N-trig, ElitePad uses Atmel. Both work well. Both require batteries in the pen.
  • Keyboard docking options: Surface Pro 3 clicks on a magnetic keyboard + touchpad while the ElitePad fits into a Productivity Jacket keyboard case. 
Bottom line: the Surface Pro 3 is being marketed as a "laptop replacement" and the ElitePad is an enterprise tablet that's been optimized for use as a versatile tablet, not as a laptop replacement.

Health care professions may also want to consider the following:
  • Productivity goals: Many enterprise electronic health records (EHRs) still don't run well enough on an iPad to provide adequate functionality and productivity for physicians and nurses who want to get some serious work done while they're mobile.  
  • Do you need to use a pen with the tablet? Unlike the iPad, many (but not all) Windows 8 tablets support active digitizer pens. In health care, this is often a critical feature because of the need to jot notes while standing at the bedside, to sign digital forms, or to have greater precision when tapping on the screen.
  • Do you need built-in 4G LTE, or is this simply a "nice" option since you always have access to Wi-Fi?
  • Do you plan to use the device mostly as a laptop or mostly as a tablet? If you plan to hold the tablet in your hand and do work using the touch screen or pen, then size/weight/heat become key considerations. You may also want to get a tablet that fits into a rugged case or uses a hand strap.
Overall, the ElitePad 1000 is an excellent Windows 8 enterprise tablet for those looking for a mobile device that is very thin and light. Adding modular expansion sleeves will provide further flexibility and it's nice to have options like a rugged case, 4G LTE, and an active digitizer stylus pen.

    Preview Windows 10

    Sunday, November 2, 2014

    Windows XP is dead. Oct 31, 2014 was the last day that PC manufacturers could sell a new PC loaded with Windows 7 Home (You can still purchase PCs loaded with Windows 7 Professional).

    Some people who have transitioned to Windows 8 have continued to struggle with the traditional desktop environment vs. the modern touch-friendly environment optimized for mobile devices. Some have been waiting for Windows 9, hoping that it would resemble Windows 7.

    Well, Microsoft recently announced that they will be jumping right from Windows 8 to 10. There will be no Windows 9. Microsoft has allowed developers and IT professionals to test the prerelease version of Windows 10 through the Windows 10 Technical Preview program. 

    We're expecting Microsoft to release Windows 10 in 2015. Do you remember when Microsoft released Windows 8? It was Oct 2012.

    In many ways, Windows 10 will feel similar to Windows 8, but the Start Button on the lower left corner will return some features that some of us missed from Windows 7. Windows 10 will also include more robust enterprise security features and provide enhanced enterprise management options to simplify life IT departments. The reality of BYOD (bring your own device) will be easier to manage on devices running Windows 10 since your data will be separated into work vs. personal.

    To me, the biggest change in Windows 10 is that it will run across all devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. That's right - smartphones! Can you imagine running some of your enterprise applications on a smartphone screen?

    I've joined the Windows 10 Technical Preview program, so I'll be sharing some of my thoughts as I take Windows 10 for a test drive over the next few months.

    Exploring the HP ElitePad 1000 G2

    Saturday, September 6, 2014

    Some of you may know that I had the opportunity to test and review the HP ElitePad 900 back in early 2013. Back then, this was one of HP's first tablet PCs running Windows 8 (32-bit) and it was powered using a 2nd generation Intel Atom processor. The ElitePad was unique compared to most other tablet PCs in that it was designed to fit with various expansion sleeves and accessories that extended its capabilities.

    In the early part of 2014, HP released the updated ElitePad 1000 G2 which is powered by a 3rd generation Intel Atom processor and it runs the 64-bit version of Windows 8. The 3rd generation Atom processor is much faster than its predecessor and it consumes much less power than the Intel Core processors. So, the ElitePad 1000 is still light and thin and it offers all-day battery life. Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing more about my experience using the HP ElitePad 1000, so stay tuned.

    In the meanwhile, before you purchase a new tablet PC, consider whether you'll need to use an special stylus pen (active digitizer) for writing, drawing, scribbling, etc. with pinpoint accuracy. Or, do you simply need a device that will respond to your finger's touch? For me, a pen is critical. The options become more limited when you start researching tablet computers that support an active pen.

    The other major consideration is around the processor that's powering the PC. If you're going with a Windows 8 tablet PC, then most of them are either powered by an Intel Core processor (very fast, but consumes a lot of battery power, so will tend to be thicker and heavier), or an Intel Atom processor (relatively fast, thin, light, all-day battery life).

    The HP ElitePad 1000 G2 is one of the first tablet PCs that I'll be using that is powered by the 3rd generation Intel Atom processor and that runs a 64-bit version of Windows 8.

    Do you know how to tell if your PC is powered by a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Intel Atom or Core processor?
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