Enterprising Developments

Mobile Devices, Tablets, Laptops, PCs – Is There Really a Difference?

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, November 28, 2011

INN editor Pat Speer recently reported on FirstBest's survey of insurance executives and agents, which found that most want mobile devices to keep them linked on a 24-7 basis.

The survey finds that most respondents prefer smartphones, iPads or tablets—versus laptops or PCs—to keep them connected. Is a paradigm shift taking place?

First, we have to acknowledge the genius (not just Steve Jobs, but many others) behind Apple's product design and marketing in recent years. A decade ago, Apple and the Mac were given up for dead.

But we also have to ask, what is the difference between a mobile device and a traditional PC (laptops included)? It's actually not an easy question. The lines are getting blurrier all the time.

I put the same question to some Microsoft folks who were discussing their company's mobile analytics offerings at a recent conference, which include capabilities that could track and analyze the types of mobile channels customers were using to peruse and buy products and services. What's the difference when someone accesses a service via a remote laptop using the Web, versus a tablet computer or smartphone? Are they considered separate categories? That's a subject of great internal debate, they admitted.

The iPad is essentially a larger iPhone in many ways. They use the same operating system, just as Android devices do. Tablet computers are essentially laptops without the clam shell and keyboard.

What's the difference between a smartphone with monitor and USB keyboard attached, versus a small PC?

A handheld device isn’t practical for everything – you wouldn't want to write a white paper on a smartphone. In a customer call center, it's better to have a big screen representatives can use – you wouldn't want them trying to squint at smartphones screens eight hours a day.

Ultimately, the only difference may be in how small you want to go.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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