THE RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF TABLET COMPUTING
A white paper for TCO Development by Andrew Bibby
v3.0, 17 October 2011 Andrew Bibby
a timely one. in the process skimping on quality and on other key product criteria. the iPad has been its fastest-selling product ever. the numbers of tablets shipped and sold has grown astonishingly fast. though. commissioned from the independent journalist and writer Andrew Bibby. industry pundits and media commentators reach in their dictionaries for the hyperboles. and assesses the wider implications of a technological tool which could change profoundly the future shape of both business and consumer computer usage. though. This white paper. today‟s launch turns into tomorrow‟s forgotten product. The article went on to note the five-fold increase in the number of tablets sold worldwide between the second quarter of 2010 and the equivalent quarter of 2011. The success of Apple‟s iPad has convinced the world that a slim rectangle with a touch screen is tomorrow‟s computer. there is reason to believe that the industry and media excitement may not be entirely out of place. The report offers a short examination of the background to the rapid growth of interest in tablet computing. Each time a new product or operating system is launched. therefore. For Apple itself. In the very short period since Apple launched its first iPad in early 2010. too often. With tablets.Introduction
“The future will be crawling with tablets. The challenge both for those professionals responsible for procuring IT equipment and for end users is to know how to identify those tablets which do meet high standards. or so the story goes – and then.
.” So began an article in the Financial Times‟ daily Lex column in September 2011 1. The IT world is all too familiar with hype. The decision by TCO Development to extend its international certification programme to tablets is. This is the big one. that some IT brands may rush to bring products to market. The speed at which tablet computing has taken off brings the risk. is being published to coincide with the launch of the TCO Certified Tablets programme.
with its market share predicted still to be around 48% in 2015. It also suggests that in 2012 total sales could be 108 million. It is by no means certain that the final figure for 2011 may not be higher still.2 108. produced by Gartner in April 2012. it revised its projection upwards. the tablet market has developed enormously quickly. The table below. Garner anticipates that Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market at least for the next three years. Another analyst.1
As the table make clear. Gartner. produced by the Financial Times from data supplied by Enders Analysis and Credit Suisse 6.6 million in 20112.3 Total 17. Three months later. IDC.7 Android 2.4 13.2
2015 138. for example.
Table 1: Projected sales of media tablets (millions)
2010 iOS (Apple) 14. This is borne out in the graph below.5 Other OS 0. it had again reviewed its forecast. reported in January 2011 that it expected sales to increase from the 2010 figure of 17 million to 44.9 7.
.The growth of a market
Apple launched its iPad on January 27 th 2010 and made it available in Europe. reaching almost three hundred million a year by 2015. By September 2011. this time to 62.5 million4.6
2011 47.9 13.9 69. to around fifty million3. consistently faster than analysts have predicted.7 million for the year. On the back of this one product.7
2012 68. also breaks down these predicted sales by operating system5.5 113.4 42. Japan and Australia four months later.7 26.1 294. has suggested likely sales of 69.
this is anticipated to fall to around USD 400 by 20157. price. In 2010. it should be borne in mind that there are in fact two distinct categories of tablet – those which have been developed from mobile telephones (smartphones) and which use smartphone operating systems such as iOS (Apple) and Android (Google).
. and deliver services and content. The actual little rectangle will become an afterthought. Tablets are. and those which have come out of notebook and netbook computer technology.Fig 1: Quarterly sales of tablets by operating system
Source: Financial Times. But as the Financial Times also points out.”8
Two kinds of tablet
Although most commentators tend to discuss tablets as a generic product. the global average selling price of a tablet was around USD 600. all in all. set to become an very significant market. it is not the technology itself but how it is used which will increasingly become important: “The game becomes how to control. sources Enders Analysis. Credit Suisse
At the same time. and which use „full‟ computing operating systems such as Windows 7. prices are expected to fall markedly.
and energy-hungry. will be able to do so with almost as much ease as on a notebook computer – particularly if an external keyboard can also be connected. This might be the place to add that a further distinction can be made between tablets and e-readers such as Amazon‟s Kindle. and also excludes mobile phone devices which are designed to be held against the ear. TCO Development‟s criteria applies to all display sizes above 4 inches. It may be noted that TCO Development‟s certification programme for tablets has been designed to be able to suit both these types of tablet. A business user wanting to develop or edit a PowerPoint presentation or write a report in Word. for example. and whilst a traditional Kindle does not meet the „complete mobile computer‟ requirement nevertheless the trend is towards a growing convergence between tablets and ereaders. marketed initially simply as an electronic alternative to a traditional printed book. Interestingly. Dedicated e-readers such as Kindle have also taken off rapidly over the past twelve months. both of which currently have both types of tablet product available. the vast majority of tablets being used at present are based on smartphone operating systems. larger than a mobile phone integrated into a flat touch screen and primarily touch screen operated. (using) an onscreen virtual keyboard or a digital pen instead of a physical keyboard”. there can be advantages and disadvantages with both types of tablet.Because of the current market dominance of Apple‟s iPad. some IT brands are choosing to enter the tablet market from both directions. TCO Development „s own definition of a tablet is that of “a complete mobile computer. The launch in late 2011 by Amazon of its new Kindle Fire is an indication of this development. those tablets which come from the notebook/netbook tradition. and can offer access to the growing store of Apple and Android apps. Tablets with smartphone operating systems typically demand less processing power and therefore are less power. On the other hand. These are what some commentators describe as „media tablets‟.9
. whilst requiring more processing power and energy. using finger-touch technologies. examples are Samsung and Lenovo. contrasting these with what they call „tablet PCs‟. are more suited for the creation of content. They are likely to be easy to navigate. For the end-user.
Tablets and the business user
Businesses as well as consumers have been quick to identify the possible uses of the tablet computer in the work environment. its research vicepresident David Willis has talked of tablets‟ „enormous potential‟ in the workplace: “They can be a convenient replacement for tasks where a notebook seemed to be the only option (eg reading and otherwise consuming data). both in 2010 and again in August 2011. Its 2011 survey points to the continued market dominance of Apple for tablets for business use. and 45% used them for sales presentations. predictably enough. reporting that the most popular use was. such as simple forms entry. They can also serve as data entry devices for short tasks where a smartphone is too small. Useful surveys of business tablet use have been conducted in the US by ChangeWave Research. IT analysts Gartner have been particularly enthusiastic about the use of tablets in business. Another interesting set of uses centers around tablets
. as reflected in the title of their briefing note CEO Advisory: Seize the iPad Opportunity Now in September 201011. More recently.10
Fig 3: Corporate tablet demand
Source: ChangeWave Research
ChangeWave explored the usages which business is making of the tablet in its 2010 survey of 1641 business IT buyers. Beyond this. ChangeWave found that 46% of those with tablets at work used them to provide sales support. for internet and email access.
.permanently mounted in a physical location. one cynical blogger commented shortly after the first iPad launch: “Would love to know what percentage of iPad users will get RSI [repetitive strain injury] and degraded eyesight in the next few years. particularly with tablets using smartphone-based operating systems as opposed to full PC operating systems. fundamentally. The physicist and technology analyst Raymond Soneira has looked in detail at the screen technology of five tablets and has drawn attention to a number of ways in which current tablet displays can be improved and made more user-friendly.14 Rather more caustically. Right from the start. One IT journalist has pointed out the problems users encounter in creating presentations on iPads: “Unless they make presentations on a PC and import them into their iPad – which gives less than satisfactory results – … creating anything other than a one. Willis identifies the value of tablets for sales staff: “Many sales leaders are clamouring to adopt them in their workforce. The issue is particularly pertinent as business use of tablets increases. There are however clearly limitations at present to business use. the precise attributes of the display technology take on an especial significance. Not everyone however has always been entirely complimentary: for example.” 12 Like ChangeWave. who complained of the potential problems of using tablets in the open air in bright sunlight. the problem of reading tablet screens in bright light was raised by the Financial Times technology writer Alan Cane. simply a display linked to processing power). such as a kiosk. And it won‟t stop there: next will come customer relationship management systems.
Issues around usability
New technology of any kind can raise questions of usability and health and safety concerns.or two-slide presentation must be a labor of love”. media tablets will be a natural platform for business analytics and performance dashboards.” he writes. order entry and sales configuration applications. As he reports. tablet computers have attracted a very strong positive response from users. vehicle or elevator. For sales managers.13 We need to recall that tablets are still an emerging technology. given companies‟ responsibility for the occupational safety and health of their employees.” 15 Because the display is so central to the experience of using a tablet (a tablet is.
”16 Soneira was writing in mid-2011. environmental design and energy efficiency. The final sections of this white paper offer a brief resume of the approach the TCO Certified Tablet programme is taking. TCO92. It‟s an intentional tradeoff made to increase screen brightness. Second: all of these Tablets have a reduced Color Gamut that produces images with less saturated colors. was developed by the Swedish professional trade union federation in the late 1980s and early 1990s and launched. This is a significant issue only when multiple viewers are watching a Tablet but may also require a single viewer to carefully adjust the Tablet orientation.
Raising standards: the TCO Certified Tablets programme
The decision by TCO Development to offer the new Certified Tablets programme introduces what is the first independent certification available for the tablet market. The story of the certification of IT products by TCO goes back to the early days of mass computing. The TCO 92 standard assessed visual display screens based on emitted radiation.
. As with other TCO Certified products. and also helps more generally in raising overall standards across the industry. Fourth: all of these Tablets have an unsatisfactory Ambient Light Sensor and Automatic Brightness Control. The task of ensuring that tablet users do have a product which meets their legitimate expectations in terms of usability is obviously very important. as the name suggests. which wastes battery power and causes eye strain. and it also causes eye strain. and we can expect that tablet manufacturers and brands are already addressing some of these concerns. in 1992. energy efficiency and electrical safety. Experience with previous computer technologies suggests that external assessment and certification helps IT procurement professionals and end-users when they are faced with selecting between apparently similar products. Third: all of these Tablets have a sharp decrease in Brightness and Contract with Viewing Angle.of these Tablets have large shiny mirror-like screens… actually a very bad feature that requires higher screen brightness and more battery power to offset the reflected light. and corporate social responsibility. the criteria in TCO Certified Tablets focuses on performance. The larger Tablet screen size makes it harder to position both yourself and the screen to avoid bright reflections. power efficiency and battery run time. The first certification programme.
all-in-one computers. firstly with TCO99. and then developed further. then in a series of initiatives from 2001-2007. Samsung. the astonishing growth in tablet sales mentioned earlier in this report could be seen not as cause for celebration but as cause for concern. “Good visual ergonomics is a very important aspect of quality that can also have a direct effect on the health. Five criteria are covered in relation to the display: image detail. TCO Development uses a network of independent laboratories around the world to ensure that the criteria it establishes are met. luminance contrast. comfort and performance of the user”17. rapidly became a familiar sight around the world. and colour performance. it is appropriate that it has turned its attention now to the qualities of tablet displays. Plantronics and NEC. reflection. It also imposes certification criteria addressing issues of environmental and social responsibility. fixed to IT monitors. TCO Development has in fact imposed tougher visual ergonomics and performance criteria on tablets compared with those used for certification for other products. luminance. TCO Development not only considers issues of usability and occupational safety and health when assessing tablet performance. as 9
. Dell. At the same time TCO Development gradually extended the scope of its certification to include desktop PCs. If over a hundred million tablets are to be sold during the twelve months of 2012. The TCO certification was toughened three years later for the TCO95 programme with its focus on the four „E‟s (ecology. Lenovo. ergonomics and emissions). Given TCO Development‟s early history in relation to display screens. projectors and headsets. including such well-known companies as LG.
Addressing the environmental issues
As with the TCO Certified programmes for other products.and the TCO92 label. Because of the significance of the display for the usability of tablets. notebooks. It points out that more than seventy IT brands and manufacturers have sought and successfully obtained certification. HP. Broader ergonomic issues are covered as well. As it argues. what it calls the other two „pillars‟ of its certification approach.and finally with the launch of the generic TCO Certified programme in 2009. energy. including the ability where appropriate to connect external devices such as keyboards and larger display screens. In one respect.
that as with PCs and notebooks. The prospect is. “potential environmental effects are evident at each stage of the product life cycle…The environmental requirements TCO Development has focused on are those that we consider most relevant to the product group. this represents a further avalanche of technology products into a world which is already full of other computing equipment and gadgetry.Gartner suggests. It is only relatively recently (helped by initiatives such as the European Union‟s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive of 2002) that the IT industry has been required to begin to face up to its responsibilities in this respect. at some point. Every tablet manufactured and sold will also. centred on the energy consumption of tablets. Secondly.
The criteria for the Certified Tablet programme cover each of these environmental concerns. and there remains a long way to go before a full life-cycle approach to IT products is central to all manufacturers‟ and brands‟ thinking. there is a focus on climate change issues. As TCO Development puts it. TCO Development has long taken a lead in encouraging manufacturers to move towards eliminating the use of heavy
. They have also proved to be attainable in volume production and are verifiable. adopting a whole-of-life perspective to tablet manufacture and disposal. regrettably. The first of these covers organisation during the production phase (including a requirement for environmental management system certification). many tablets will be left on tricklecharge. which go into the manufacturing process and into such components as the batteries.”18 What this means in practice is that the environmental requirements of the Certified Tablet programme are divided into six categories. It also means that yet more electrical devices will be using energy. need to be disposed of. drawing power unnecessarily and contributing indirectly to increased carbon emissions. some of them scarce. It represents further demand for the raw materials. A third focus is on the use of hazardous substances.
reporting in early 2011: “The [UK] Environment Agency is pursing thirty cases. The Financial Times reported in 2010. mercury. usually located in China and other east Asian countries.”19 Finally. A pre-condition for prolonged lifetime is that the product is of high quality.20 At the other end of the product lifecycle. This new and important development reflects the growing interest and concern by IT procurement professionals and end-users in this aspect of the products they are buying. “A longer product lifetime has a significant positive contribution to resource use as well as the reduction of air and water pollution. there have been equally worrying stories of very poor working conditions related to handling of electronic waste from developed countries which has been exported to developing countries. Once again the Financial Times is among those covering the story. and the Certified Tablet programme continues this initiative. for example. Another requirement is the availability of spare parts for the product once it is taken out of production. most of which involve electrical waste that has been sold
. the IT industry comprises both the IT brands and the actual product manufacturers. As TCO Development explains. For example. southern China. The story was about Foxconn. that “a spate of suicides among workers at the world‟s largest electronics contract manufacturer is fuelling debate internally and abroad”. whose clients include Apple. under TCO Development certification. TCO Development has been addressing issues in relation to social responsibility in its certification work. Recent years have seen some worrying stories of poor labour conditions in certain electronics plants. Dell and HP and which operates a vast factory town in Shenzen. As is well known. mercury is required to be entirely absent from products.metals such as lead. the Certified Tablet programme also imposes requirement for packaging and for preparation for recycling. which is supported by good guarantees.
Addressing the social issues
Since the launch of the TCO Certified programme in 2009. A fourth focus is on the product lifetime. This has also been widely covered by the media. cadmium and chromium.
environmental and economic achievements. SA8000 is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Another venture. There are. overseen by Social Accountability International. The UN does not monitor companies embracing the Global Compact for compliance. established by the UN agency the International Labour Organization as part of its call for „decent work‟.illegally to west Africa… Once they arrive in Nigeria or Ghana. including children. SA8000 is a well-known global social accountability standard for decent working conditions. the term by itself can be little more than an attempt to gain positive PR from token efforts. an industry group working to ensure credible implementation of the Electronic 12
. labour rights. offers a standard way for companies to report on their record on human rights. launched by the UN Secretary-General in 1999.” 21 Whilst many companies today seek to promote themselves as models of corporate social responsibility. social issues. There are different GRI standards. the TCO Certified programme requires a company to meet GRI G3 level C or higher. scramble through the remains to pick out useful metals such as copper. The first is the Global Compact. include recognition of freedom of association and collective representation. They are exposed to harmful substances such as cadmium and mercury while working in the toxic fumes. the waste is burnt to remove the plastic while workers. and International Labour Organization core labour standards. the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. to which companies can sign up. however. using a set of 79 performance indicators. TCO Development accepts a valid SA8000 certificate as evidence of compliance. the elimination of forced labour and the ending of discrimination in the workplace). a number of independent global initiatives in the field of social responsibility which impose somewhat more rigorous standards. TCO Development at this stage in its developing work around social responsibility has linked certification with compliance with one of four internationally recognised initiatives. it lays down ten principles by which companies wishing to sign up to the Compact are required to uphold. the Global Reporting Initiative. the effective abolition of child labour. TCO Development also recognises for certification purposes those companies which are active members of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). These include support for internationally proclaimed human right. and compliance with core labour standards (core labour standards. but companies are expected to publish in a report each year the details of how they are meeting these principles.
TCO Development will consider evidence that companies are undertaking their own CSR initiative equivalent to one or more of these four schemes. one of those products we didn‟t know we needed until the iPad arrived but which many of us now feel we couldn‟t do without. Brands and manufacturers have geared up rapidly to meet the demand. therefore. warehouses and retail outlets are piled high. so does the difficulty of choosing between brands. It is helpful. Book publishers and media companies with paper-based newspapers and magazines are among those taking a very keen interest in the new market opportunities. As the range of tablet products increases. Box after box after box is being shipped. that tablets have now been brought within the scope of the TCO Certified programme. The global recognition of TCO Development‟s certification programme offers useful reassurance that IT products are well designed not only both for the benefit of the user but also in relation to broader social and environmental factors. ready for the customers.
Tablets are a phenomenon.
.Industry Code of Conduct. Finally.
Owning More Than Half of It for the Next Three Years. September 14 2011 5 Gartner Says Apple iOS to Dominate the Media Tablet Market Through 2015. Projects Nearly 17 Million Media Tablets Shipped Worldwide in 2010.pcworld. Nearly 18 Million Media Tablets Shipped in 2010 with Apple Capturing 83% Share. IDC‟s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker Makes Its Debut. March 15 2011 13 Keir Thomas.htm 14 see for example Alan Cane. iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business.com/businesscenter/article/216376/how_useful_are_tablets_for_business. TCO Certified Tablets 1.0. March 10 1011 4 IDC. Financial Times. February 10. Financial Times. June 9 2010. eReader Shipments Quadrupled to More than 12 Million. 2011
. According to IDC. 21 Jim Pickard. Financial Times. Financial Times. According to IDC. Financial Times.com 12 David A Willis. Media Tablet and eReader Markets Beat Second Quarter Targets. September 20 2011 15 www. Amazon breathes Fire into tablet market. Tablet computers: come round to my pad. September 8 2011 IDC. http://www.com/Tablet_ShootOut_2. How useful are talets for business?. Tablet display technology shoot-out. January 18 2011 3 IDC.com/news/computing/apple/ipad-users-prefer-screens-to-printed-books-710232 16 Raymond Soneira.techradar. Perspectives: will tarsiers inherit the earth?. Probe claims gangs exporting toxic „recycling‟ waste to developing world. September 19 2011 18 ibid 19 ibid 20 Kathrin Hille. http://www.htm 17 TCO. September 8 2011 7 ibid 8 ibid 9 Richard Waters and Chris Nuttall. Veritas and Visus July 2011. Forecast Increased for 2011. PC World. Gartner. April 11 2011 6 Lex. May 29-20 2010.gartner. Corporate Demand Outlook 2011 11 http://www. Financial Times. Foxconn to revise factory town model. Financial Times. Tablet computers: come round to my pad. Showing the Strain.1 2
Lex.displaymate. September 30 2011 10 ChangeWave Research. January 10 2011. Robin Kwong.