Tablets: the right medicine for B2B Marketers?

The launch of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab has heralded the official creation of a new market, or the evolution into a real market of one that never really took off. Tablet computers have been around for a while, but they are basically a laptop with a dual interface and certainly don't provide the portability you get with an iPad and the Galaxy Tab, or with the raft of other tablets due for release over the next few months. Removing the keyboard was an obvious next step, and the manufacturers clearly see an opportunity here. Over 4 million iPads sold suggest it's a big one.

When the iPad first came out, I, and many others were asking where it fitted in our lives, and my fellow B2B Marketing blogger Richard Robinson brought this point up again only the other day, commenting "It does nothing that I can’t do with another device I already have". And it's true, up to a point. In many ways the iPad is just an inflated iPhone or iPod, benefiting from a bigger screen and a faster processor, but with all of the other typical features, and the Galaxy Tab is similarly just an inflated Samsung phone. So what's so special? So far my reaction is right, need bigger pockets!

What makes the iPad special is the apps, and this will be the same for the Galaxy Tab and any future tablets using Android. These machines may have their hardware restrictions - size (either too big or too small), shape (no-one can use a flat touch screen keyboard on a constant basis), memory size, etc, but the advent of apps has meant that these relatively simple machines have been exposed to a world of creative thinkers able to look beyond these seeming limitations to produce software that can turn tablets into versatile tools, everything from exciting games consoles to potential lifesavers.

And that's what interests me the most. What genuinely useful things can you do with a tablet? More importantly, this being a B2B blog, what genuinely useful B2B applications can you think of that will work particularly well with tablets? This question has already been asked of the iPhone, but I'd like to get it rolling with its new big brother and Android cousins: Can the tablet play an important role as a B2B tool?