The mobile market is flooded with form options. The form-factor overload has caused what Lenovo's Vice President of North American Commercial Channel and SMB Chris Frey calls "a time of device confusion, especially as it relates to the channel."
With choices ranging from smartphones to tablets to phablets to convertible notebooks that morph into four different shapes, form factors are not a case of one-size-fits-all. Frey said he already sees businesses allowing multiple flavors of mobile devices within the enterprise, largely fueled by personal preferences of the employees.
"We believe it is important to have offerings around all kinds of different form factors. The important part is getting the devices in the hands of the business partner so they can get the devices to the hands of all employees," Frey said.
According to Jennifer Langan, director of mobility product market, Enterprise Business Division at Samsung Electronics America, form-factor specialization, especially in reference to specific verticals, is highly important.
"The options are definitely going to increase. The responsibility is on the device maker to articulate what situation each device can best be used," Langan said.
Langan described one Samsung strategy as a sort of "work backwards" technique in which Samsung looks at specific enterprise needs in specific verticals and creates devices that will address those needs. Using the health-care vertical as an example, Langan noted a doctor or nurse who may need to carry a tablet may also need the ability to dock that tablet to a keyboard. The form of the device changes, but all of the information is still stored on a single device.
"We're finding out that one of the most important factors in health care is for the device to be able to fit in a lab-coat pocket," Langan said. She added the lab-coat pocket fit is very specific for health care, but a worthy requirement to design a device specifically for. Though options in the form arena abound, Langan expects even more to hit the market as specific needs are targeted.
According to Frey and Langan, the client device of the future is tailored. They will be tailored not just to a specific business, but down to the very last end user, even if that means the employee in the next cubicle has been fitted to a different form.
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