John Hill, TabletPCBuzz, Owner and Allegiance Technology, CEO has agreed to help guide appraisers through some of their questions with regards to what a Tablet PC is and what it isn't! I've attended two of John's webinars for appraisers on Tablet PCs and have learned a TON both times. Welcome John to the Appraisal Scoop blog!
Rather than talk about “feeds and speeds”, advocate or bash certain brands or advise you on what your setup should look like, I’ve decided to help set your expectations about Tablet PCs.
It isn’t a computer that weighs 1.2 pounds, has a 17” screen and 16 hours of battery life with a built in 8 megapixel camera and is Mil-spec ruggedized for drops of 30’ and submersible to a depth of 100 meters.
It is a fully capable Windows computer - You can run ALL your Windows compatible software the same as you do on your desktop or laptop computer. It runs the same version of QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, Apex, WinTOTAL, ClickForms, ACI and any other software without requiring a special “tablet” version. You can get a very capable tablet PC with a weight under 4 pounds with a high resolution screen and 5+ hours of battery time. With the right case, you can protect your tablet from rain and mishaps.
A Tablet PC won’t work where I live
I know, you are in Florida where the sun is intense, or Arizona where it is 120F in the shade, or Washington where it rains six days out of five, or Vermont where it is always twenty below. Tablet PCs, like other mobile computers, are designed to work in a variety of environments. The outdoor viewable screens aren’t perfect, but they are way better than any standard notebook screen. All are rated to a wide variety of temperatures.
Treat it the way you would any expensive device - Feel free to lock it in the trunk of your car when you don’t want it stolen – just don’t leave it there for several days in the baking sun or freezing cold. Get some rain on the screen and you can just wipe it off – but please don’t use it to complete forms while you are in the tub with your rubber duck. Drop it off the desk onto the floor when you trip over the cord – our rule is that any fall that would injure you would probably hurt your computer too.
It won’t recognize my handwriting
If you need a spouse or assistant to translate your handwriting because even you can’t read it then you may be right. The handwriting works for 95% of people right out of the box but there are 5% of you that it won’t work for.
A little bit of effort goes a long way - Our clients are construction superintendents, landscapers, HVAC repair guys, flood insurance adjusters, fire marshals and home inspectors. And, of course, appraisers. None of them is looking to buy a computer that needs a lot of training, is difficult to use or requires any special skills.
They want a device that lets them complete the majority of their work in the field because that is where the money is. Spend a little time learning how to take advantage of the inking technology and you’ll get your money’s worth.
I can buy a laptop for $600
Absolutely true. You can buy a low end Dell for that amount and it will run all your software. For under $1,000 you can get more memory, a bigger hard drive and some extra warranty. Spend more and you can get a very portable, lightweight device that is very powerful.
Tablets are for people who are “walking around while computing”
Laptops are for people who need to take their work with them when they go to different locations.
Tablet PCs are for people who want to do their work while actually moving around their job site, whether that is a single home, housing development, boat or island.
- If you want to write everything down on a piece of paper and then type in the data when you get back to the office or home, get a laptop.
- If you want to complete as much of the form as possible while in the field, get a tablet.
Because of the hardware and software capabilities that allow you to do that you will make a greater investment in a tablet PC than you would for a laptop PC.