A Business Tablet might seem like an odd combo -- but Windows makes it worthwhile.
September 15, 2014: You see them in the security queues at airports, that serve India's IT geek clusters -- young men and women, shoulders sagging under the weight of laptops they have to lug, relics of an era when portable PCs had to be bulky to be powerful.
And then you have the non-IT crowd of the Bold and the Beautiful, flashing their slim and colorful tablets as they shut out the world to watch their movies and music videos, while waiting to board their flights.
Can the two computer-carrying worlds meet? Is there such a thing as a Business Tablet or it that a contradiction in terms?
Microsoft and Intel have jointly persuaded half a dozen tablet makers to make this a reality -- tablets which are equally cool at work and play. Latest to join the Wintel gang ( Windows OS plus Intel chip) is the iBall Slide WQ32, an 8-inch tablet fuelled by Windows 8.1 rather than Android. Its key specs are fairly standard for any tablet in this price range ( Rs 16,999, but search online to save a thousand bucks or so): 5 MP auto focus rear camera and 2 MB "selfie" camera; quad core 1.33 GHz atom processor; 2GB RAM, 16 GB memory, expandable with another 64 GB through a micro SD card; 1280 by 800 pixel IPS display; 3G SIM slot but strangely, only for data not for voice calling. The capacitive display is sensitive to a light touch and the WiFi pickup is quite fast
We did not appreciate being asked for our Windows Live identity or to be forced to have an account like Outlook as soon as we opened the tablet for the first time. Users should be free to use a tablet without being forced to change their online affiliations. However, If you are a professional user, this tablet will provide a sharp improvement in productivity, in a small but significant number of ways:
If you don't like the tiled Windows 8 menu, you can switch to the old desktop style. The very fact of having a desktop, lets you drag-n-drop files from a USB stick to the tablet -- something that is a major pain point in Android: you have to mail the files to yourself.
The tablet also provides for users who are more comfortable with a mouse -- then moment you connect one, a mouse icon pops up. Likewise, you can connect a keyboard, a portable scanner or even one of those nano projectors through the mini USB port. And an HDMI port lets you play or project 720p HD video.
The iBall Slide comes preinstalled with a one year subscription to Office 365, as well as the Windows Anti Virus and 1 TB of cloud storage. We are not great fans of so-called free pre-loads which you have to pay for after a while, but in this case you have the option to open an Outlook email account and use the free online office features. Strangely, the tables leaves out an NFC sensor, that any business user would demand. Even Intel's Education tablet for kids has one!
In summary, the iBall Slate WQ32 with Windows under its belt, offers a real option for those who want the old familiar desktop PC experience combined with the convenience of a tablet. Laptop luggers, join the queue. More information here