Apple (AAPL) iPad isn’t just for consumers. Small business owners are increasingly using the cutting-edge tablet for both their personal and business lives. According to a study from The Business Journals, tablet usage has increased from 9% in 2010 to 34% in 2011 among small businesses.
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That doesn’t mean small business owners have to wait on long lines to get their hands on the iPad 3. There are other alternatives to the iPad geared toward business users. But they don’t come cheap. Expect to pay at least $400 for any of these iPad alternatives.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer
This sleek tablet computer runs on Google’s Android operating systems, boasts a full Qwerty keyboard dock as well as touchpad input with Polaris Office. The Transformer has a battery life of 14.5 hours with a screen that is made from scratch resistant and super tough glass. Business users can take advantage of front and rear facing built in cameras and two USB ports, SD and Micro SD card readers to expand storage and easily share files. It will cost small business owners around $400 for a 16GB Transformer and around $500 for a 32GB Transformer.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
This tablet computer has one thing the iPad does not: flash. On top of the ability to view flash enabled Web sites, Samsung claims the Galaxy is the thinnest and lightest large screen tablet on the market. Managing the Galaxy may be easier for small business owners because of Samsung’s Live Panel customizable home screen where content like email, imagine galleries and Websites can be accessed from the home screen. Its built in Mini Apps, which lets users access things like the calendar, PenMemo, Calculator or Task manager as pop ups over full screen applications, could be appealing to business users. Just like the Transformer the Galaxy uses Polaris Office. The Galaxy costs around $400 to $450 for a 16GB tablet.
Coming in at about $500 the Motorola Xoom boasts a 10.1”HD widescreen display, dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. The Xoom can have up to 64GB of storage and runs on the Android operating system. The tablet has dual built in cameras and a built in 5 mega pixel camera. Business users can buy a wireless keyboard for the Xoom making it more like a computer than a tablet PC. Another handy feature for small business owners: QuickOffice Pro HD. The software lets you create, edit and share Microsoft Office and PDF files on the go.
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Brought to you by Lenovo, the ThinkPad Tablet is a multi touch device which means in addition to a touch screen users can utilizes the ThinkPad Tablet Pen to perform the same functions you would with your finger. Geared specifically toward business users, the Tablet Pen lets users convert handwriting into digital text, annotate PDFs and mark up images or drawings. The tablet comes preinstalled with MacAfee Mobile Security and Citrix Receiver which enables a company’s IT department to deliver enterprise data, apps and virtualized desktops to the tablet. That means users can access their work applications and desktops from their tablet. The ThinkPad tablet has up to eight hours of battery life and up to 64 GB of storage. The ThinkPad doesn’t come cheap. It is $479 for the 16GB version, $499 for the 34GB one and $659 for the 64GB ThinkPad Tablet.