Thanks to Apple and the breakthrough of their iPad tablet computer (remember the Newton!), market researchers now have a plethora of device options available to meet their mobile research demands. At last count, there were over 85 different tablets in production – all trying to catch up with the demand awakened by the extreme success of the iPad. From a survey-geek’s perspective I’m ecstatic – not just because the iPad device offers so much (mobility, battery life, screen resolution, multimedia capture, application distribution platform, processing speed, installed base, etc.), but also because it has unleashed an army of engineers from other competing companies focused on trying to improve upon the iPad design. We all will benefit from this massive amount of energy currently focused on achieving the “best” tablet device.
Within our niche – real-time onsite customer feedback – the tablet PC (iPad included) is an ideal survey tool. Just thinking about the form factor alone, it enables us to use the same piece of hardware as mobile survey device for intercept surveying and as a stand along survey kiosk. At any time, we can unlock and remove the iPad from its iPad Kiosk enclosure (where it’s running off AC and in lock-down mode), and continue using the same device as a mobile intercept research tool. The same device; two radically different applications.