It's three hours before the iPad2 is available in Austin. With SXSW launching and the Spring Break for techies descending upon our city, the tech buzz here in the heart of Texas is undeniable. I thought I'd share with you why we're launching a pilot to move our container company toward tablet computing and why we're picking the Xoom over the iPad2.
First - why tablets?
In late 2009, when Steve Jobs announced the coming iPad, I could barely contain myself. I was so excited about the promise of tablet computing. Of course, the first release left much to be desired in the actual machine, but the idea of a truly portable computing device could really improve the execution of our brand promise of being easy to work with, resourceful, and dependable.
Our "office" is a 3 acre yard that has so many disparate components that a tablet could help us stay on top of. Portable storage containers for rent, conexes being modified in a variety of ways, repairing shipping containers, inventory - the list goes on and on. Also, we've really bought into cloud computing at Falcon. Most of our documents are shared in the cloud. Our CRM is on the cloud. All of our digital assets are in the cloud. We keep track of workflow and tasks through Google Docs. All of our project control and quality control documents are migrating to the cloud.
Carrying a notebook computer around simply is not feasible. Paper becomes inefficient very quickly. A tablet computer is awesome because efficient access to all this information would enable our Boxperts to make better decisions.
Beyond our yard, we take better care of our customers through outside salespeople and delivery personnel. Again, a tablet computer could greatly enhance our brand promise of being "easy to work with". Imagine the benefit of having an "always on" tablet for entering and executing orders. For re-routing.
Second - why Xoom instead of iPad2?
The iPad2 no doubt surpasses the Xoom in number of Apps. But most of the Apps are not relevant to our business of repurposing shipping containers, if any business at all. I don't want my guys becoming champions at Angry Birds.
Because the Xoom is an Android based system, we know that it will have awesome integration with Google Apps which we've become intertwined with. Also, the integration with Google's voice recognition for input is something that few have written about, but I think will help a great deal instead of typing on the software keyboard. Finally, we won't have any "Wi-Fi only" devices; that said the ability to go from 3G to 4G was a big selling point as connectivity and speed will really drive user adoption.
The hardware between the two devices seemed comparable. The points that the iPad2 wins on were not key selling points to us. The fact that the iPad2 is thinner and 15% lighter was cool, but not key. Same goes with the new case for the iPad2 - cool but not key.
So we concluded, the Xoom won out over the iPad2 for our needs. That's our rationale at Falcon. Please let me know what you think as we're still in our pilot phase. Either that or let me know if you're trying something similar. I'd love to compare notes as we go.