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What's the best tablet PC for your organization?

The Apple iPad has launched a tablet PC war as vendors strive to provide the mobility and functionality IT organizations crave. So what's the best tablet PC for your company?

Tablet PCs re-entered the tech-world spotlight with the release of Apple Inc.'s iPad earlier this year. The flexibility, mobility and clean design of the new tablet PC has created buzz across enterprises large and small -- but what's the best tablet for your specific needs?

A recent poll conducted by Sybase Inc. of 2,443 adults regarding mobile device use indicated that the No. 1 reason U.S. consumers use a tablet device is to work out of the office, and more than half reported that they are most likely to use a tablet to work on the go.

Midmarket companies, which often suffer from fewer legacy migration issues as compared with their large counterparts, are in prime position to increase worker productivity by sniffing out the best tablet PC options. While many information workers and executives have clamored for Apple's specific tablet PC model, there are a number of iPad competitors that can satisfy enterprise needs for information mobility.

After all, what's most important to the mobile workforce? Portability and reliability are two features topping the list. The Lenovo ThinkPad X200, with a WideView Standard WXGA panel and 80 GB hard disk drive, is a popular choice across the mobile workforce because it's light, compact and business-driven. The HP EliteBook 2730p, also a good travel companion for road warriors, features a solid design and a range of features, including a 12.1-inch Illumi-Lite WXGA UWVA antiglare display. For portability, consider the Samsung Q1UP-V -- its small, 7-inch screen makes it ultraportable.

For convertible tablet PCs, the Asus Eee PC T91 includes a few extras (such as a TV tuner and integrated GPS), making it a tempting choice for the road warrior desiring a device that bridges consumer and business needs. The Dell Latitude XT, featuring a full-sized keyboard, also comes with an integrated fingerprint reader for added security.

Minimizing the risk of damaging the hardware is another serious concern to which device makers have responded. More rugged tablet devices such as the Fujitsu LifeBook T2020 and the Armor X10 can help prevent some of the hardware mishaps that occur on the road, and do so without sacrificing size and comfort. The LifeBook T2020 (with a substantial 12.1-inch screen) boasts a spill-resistant keyboard and the Armor X10 has a user-replaceable 2.5-inch hard drive and QuickBack Data Recovery System.

Finally, take into consideration the best tablet PC fit with regard to your organization's mobile communications strategy, and whether a touch-screen interface on a tablet computer makes ergonomic sense for you.

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