Updated November 8, 2014 1:14 am - One of the great benefits of Windows is the wide variety of PCs and devices available to customers, to meet every business and individual need. Namita Das, Windows Commercial Product Marketing Manager, works closely with Windows OEMs to deliver great devices and PCs to our enterprise business customers. In the coming weeks and months, Namita will share a series of posts that look at the variety of Windows PCs available for your organization and look at the key features to help you find the perfect device for your employees.
For those that don’t know, this week is an exciting one because tech companies get to show off new products and innovations at IFA in Berlin. If you are unfamiliar with IFA, it is the European equivalent of CES and a showcase for great business hardware. For Windows customers, it’s also the first opportunity to see a sneak peak at some of the really cool Windows 8.1 devices for businesses. And at this week’s Intel Developer Forum, we’ve seen some of the incredible new hardware coming to market, adding even more incentive for customers still running Windows XP to make the switch to a modern operating system like Windows 8.
Today, we’ll look at a range of new business devices just announced through two different lenses (mobility and power) based on industry trends and common use scenarios I’m hearing from conversations with customers evaluating Windows 8 in their business.
Hardware is in the middle of a rapid transformation as core capabilities, like battery life and processing power, drive increased performance as form-factors shrink in size. This is having a big impact on customers who we are seeing adopt Windows 8 to change their business or replace old business tools with new, powerful mobile solutions.
For example, Windows 8 has enabled customers like NASCAR whose pit crews are consulting their tablet’s track side in blistering heat, while other companies are taking their tablets underground to help first responders and maintenance crews in the London Underground ensure that more than 500 million passenger journeys each year are on time and safe.
With IFA well underway, we have seen several new devices announced that will offer key features to support these unique work environments and take advantage of the mobile productivity enabled by Windows later this year. For example, the Panasonic Toughpad 4K is a 20-inch tablet that provides a viewing experience four-times better than HD, but in a business-rugged, lightweight body that is a scant 5.18 lbs. This kind of mobile fidelity enables new manufacturing and design scenarios where detailed schematics and proofs of concept can quickly move from engineering to the manufacturing floor on a single tablet.
If your business has a workforce that includes a lot of road warriors such as a large sales team, consultants who meet clients onsite or IT pros who roam the halls throughout the day, you’ll appreciate the rugged design features incorporated into the new Dell Latitude 7000 series. These Ultrabooks incorporate a lightweight, durable body construction tested to military standard 810G along with the option for edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass NBT, ensuring lifecycle reliability so that coffee spill or dropped PC doesn’t end up on the surgery table getting a new keyboard or screen. As an added bonus, the Dell Latitude 7000 series also shares common accessories, such as docking stations and power cords, with the Dell 5000 series so your organization can deploy a common accessory plan and save money.
Similarly, Lenovo has introduced thinner and lighter ThinkPads, offering the power and performance businesses have come to expect in a form factor that is 20% thinner than the previous generation. Professionals in finance, marketing or sales will enjoy the familiarity of the ThinkPad design, while enjoying a more mobile form factor if they need to work from home or while traveling. These also feature the new ThinkPad precision keyboard and a larger multi-touch trackpad that supports gestures in Windows 8. And for professionals on the road, you can also extend battery life with ThinkPad’s external batteries to achieve up to 17 hours of computing power.
With the ThinkPad Yoga, Lenovo has built on the flip and fold versatility that has impressed consumers, while incorporating key features crucial to the enterprise. For example, a physical therapy practice might rely on this device’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to ensure patient records remain secure and use the Yoga 2 Pro’s 1TB of storage to keep music, movement video and photos with them wherever they are conducting a session.
HP incorporates the well-known, hard-working capabilities of their existing mobile workstations into a lighter, more mobile form-factor with the new ZBook notebooks. These devices (ZBook 14, ZBook 15, ZBook 17) are equipped with 4th generation Intel Haswell processors and super-high resolution displays (QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800) making them perfect for creative professionals, like photographers and videographers, or CAD designers, who need a high-degree of mobility along with workstation-class capabilities.
While mobility is a key emphasis in the workplace, we also know that professionals in many industries, from finance to human resources to design, need the most powerful, efficient device available in order to work with large data sets, 3D models and digital images. We also see that many of these employees still do the bulk of their work from a desk in their office. For these scenarios, we are seeing a number of new devices designed specifically with power in mind.
New additions to HP’s hardware lineup elevate the desk workstation experience through high performance towers and updated displays. The Z420, Z620 and Z820 tower workstations now come with the latest Intel Xeon processors, as well as Thunderbolt ports, for maximum productivity. Meanwhile, the new HP Z27i and HP Z30i IPS Displays pair outstanding image accuracy through 100% coverage of sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces, with the reliability you expect in a commercial environment. Demanding photographers, videographers and CAD designers will appreciate the experience these devices provide through a combination of image accuracy, power and reliability.
In graphic design and gaming, professionals work with complex models and 3D artwork, which can be difficult to render and display in some mobile settings. Dell’s new Precision mobile workstations (M4800, M6800, M6800 Phoenix Red Covert Edition) offer higher resolution than the Apple MacBook Pro Retina display, as well as the fastest memory available on a mobile workstation. This means employees can design and render complex models with ease, no matter where they are working. New WiGig wireless docking makes it easy to then project and display that work from almost any space in the building, be it your colleague’s cubicle or a conference room.
If you work with heavy data sets, or use 3D imaging or CAD, you’ll want to look at the Dell Precision tower workstations (T3610, T5610, T7610). These devices prioritize application performance, which means that workstation workloads can be accelerated. For example, this means that animations can render more quickly. In addition, these tower workstations are armed with high-powered processors, like the Intel Xeon E5-1600 or Intel Xeon E5-2600, to work through large data sets and financial analysis swiftly. And when working with visuals, these towers bring high-powered NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics support.
With the new Dell 20, 23 and 27 Touch Monitors, you can have the full touch experience of your Windows 8 PC while setting up shop at your desk. With these monitors, you can breeze through email, edit photos and zoom in and out of schematics with fast and fluid gestures. In addition to HD resolution and multi-touch support, these monitors include extensive connectivity, with ports for MHL, DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA and USB.
Over the next few months, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of these devices, as well as others coming to market, but I’d love to hear what you are looking for in a device for your workplace. Highly mobile? Incredibly durable? Crazy performance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.