Tablet computers for business - a roundup

Tablet computers are big business. The handy devices, not quite a laptop but much more than a phone, are becoming an important weapon in many business owners’ arsenals.

The range of tablets on offer can seem dizzying. Many are aimed at consumers, while others are suitable for business. Here’s our round-up of some of the options for business users.

iPad 2

For many people, ‘tablet’ is synonymous with ‘iPad’. Apple’s hugely popular product was the first tablet to really pique the public imagination, and other firms are still playing catch-up.

The iPad benefits from Apple’s attention to detail, and provides a simple, intuitive interface. If you’ve used an Apple product before, the iPad will seem simple. It also includes FaceTime, enabling you to communicate easily with colleagues who have either an iPad or an iPhone.

iPad 2, from £399.

BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry manufacturer RIM had a terrible 2011. They were plagued by service outages, and the launch of their flagship tablet product, the Playbook, was generally considered to be a flop.

Despite its name, the PlayBook is aimed firmly at business. It has a quick processor, and its interface has been well received. But, amazingly, the Playbook has no native email or calendar support. Users need to ‘pair’ it with a BlackBerry in order to secure this functionality. On the plus side, it’s very cheap – and it’s only getting cheaper.

BlackBerry PlayBook, from £169.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Google’s Android operating system is becoming more popular by the day. The open source system now powers the majority of the world’s smartphones – and it looks set to overtake Apple in the tablet stakes in the coming year.

Available in three different sizes, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab leads the UK’s Android offerings. It is quick, the user interface is very well designed, and it benefits from the vast Android Market. Google users will also enjoy instant email integration.

Galaxy Tab 10.1, from £350.

Read about some top Android productivity apps.

Read a roundup of Android phone handsets.

Lenovo IdeaPad K1

Lenovo are best known for their ultra-portable laptops. Their recent entry into the tablet market, the IdeaPad K1, is also based on the Android operating system. Its dual core processor and gigabyte of RAM provide good performance, and an intuitive home button provides useful context-based menus. Although not as high-profile as the Galaxy Tab, the IdeaPad could offer a good alternative for those who want to go with Android.

Lenovo IdeaPad K1, from £350.