Size matters

Smartphones and tablets run the same apps. Yet there are plenty of reasons to own both.

The big difference between a tablet and a smartphone (apart from the fact that a tablet doesn't offer mobile phone calls ) is the size. Even a smartphone the size of an iPhone 4s or Samsung Galaxy III still has a relatively small screen.

As a result, business people tend not to analyse reports, prepare presentations, create forms, brainstorm or attend meetings on their smartphones - even though they can.


On the other hand a 9.7 inch diagonal tablet screen is just big enough for working on a spread sheet, a database or other business application. A tablet can be a bit like a mobile office. Combine it with a keyboard and there is little difference in functionality from an internet-connected laptop. Then next generation such as the Samsung Series 5 and 7 Slates: will be one part tablet and, one part laptop running Windows 8 with Office applications loaded. Ths combination, which will also be available on the Microsoft Surface tablet, which comes with its own keyboard is due to be launched at the end of this year.

Sam Chatterjee, hub manager at the Telecom Business Hub - Manukau says the size difference makes a smartphone a "notification device" compared to tablets, which are fully fledged business tools. Especially, says Chatterjee when the tablet is hooked up to an external Bluetooth keyboard.

He cites the example of clients who spend a lot of time on flights. They may download their email to a smartphone before they get on board, but only reply to the most urgent messages. With a tablet and keyboard, they can catch up with all their email offline during the flight.

The size question also arises when it comes to presenting files to colleagues, clients and others. Whilst it may be nigh impossible to use a smartphone to show a PowerPoint presentation to a group, a tablet is just big enough to do so. Either, of course, can be used to project to a TV, monitor, or audio visual system.

There are some professions where a tablet blows a smartphone out of the water. They include designers, architects and real estate agents who want to present high definition images, videos, drawings and other visual selling aids, says Chatterjee.

Property manager Chris Doughty of DL Property Management Limited, is a great fan of his iPhone 4s and iPad 3. The two devices he says have very different uses in the property management business.

Doughty and his 12 staff members use their iPhones to record information about rental properties and their iPads to display information. By that he means that the iPhones are the perfect devices for photographing and videoing properties for rent - or for recording inspections. They're too small, however, for accessing the company's Christchurch-based server.

"The single biggest difference for us is the size of the screen on the iPad," says Doughty. The iPads are loaded with a remote access app, which allows both him and the property managers to log into the company's Windows-based property management software application from anywhere. That's useful because the business is totally mobile and doesn't have an office.

Doughty says the iPad's bigger screen allows managers to show potential tenants photographs and video "walk throughs" of other properties available through DL Property Management. When managing an existing tenancy it also allows them to access data such as a payments spread sheet and contact details.

As well as the technological advantages of iPads over smartphones, Doughty is always aware of health and safety drawbacks of doing a lot of work on an iPhone, PC or Mac. "For reasons of your eyesight you shouldn't use (certain) apps on your iPhone. It is better to look at that information on a bigger screen."

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