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Playbook iPad and Android tablets and Banking

So its pretty clear that the iPad is a wanted device, and to some extent is showing already where it fits into the working day, although this is against a backdrop of few enterprise applications currently being delivered by Investment Banks, this will change in 2011 however, 

We know that the iPad fits when distributing information that used to be handed out in hard copy, or even as PDF’s over email. Everyone is aware of the power of the device in this area. Cue a stream of banks handing iPads to board members following the lead of one well known bank.

We also know that a 7 inch device will not cut it for this use, I’m not sure I know many people who want to read full documents on a screen that size, its akin to carrying on with a mobile phone. 

We also know that the iPad, as an always on and slick device is perfect for client interaction, I fully expect to see a raft of banks deploying the iPad with client facing applications for relationship managers (both institutional and private clients). We also are very aware that Research is a prime focus for most organisations looking at the 10 inch form factor, Morgan Stanley have released there App already with more to follow hot on the heels.

So how about the smaller 7 inch form factor? Both Android and RIM based devices are coming to market soon (Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet in November Rim’s Playbook in Q1), and while there will be some take up in the consumer market for the Android based devices I’m not expecting much in the banking circles, and indeed most will waiting for the later OS releases to see what advances are made in tablet form from Android (this being a good 2 quarters off currently). But the RIM Playbook could be a different story. Already having the security features required to tick the boxes of the IT and data security chaps is a big plus, but how will it be used?

The RIM Playbook has a few draw backs, for one it has to be teathered to a blackberry for email. But lets be a bit more positive about the little animal here, and when viewed with the close tie in with the Adobe AIR platform there is an obvious and outstanding win here for RIM – speed to market.

Applications already using Flash or Flex for instance; can be ported quickly across to a mobile platform. So what will we be porting across? I see a some key win areas here – MIS for a start, secure access based on corporate WIFI or through the RIM security services make this a great starting point. I fully expect Risk to appear on the platform very quickly. It also lends itself to workflow management very well, where there is a need for sign off, where authorisation is required this device fits. and the key potential? Rich Internet Applications (RIA) developed in Flex, and there are some pretty big Platforms with their eye on this route to market, and the Playbook could end up being a channel of less resistance (porting adobe based Apps) when compared to the iPad.

I think this week we will see some large announcements with regards to the Playbook – so worth keeping an eye on the press for the next few days – it could give you some great concepts for making the most out of the device and form factor.

Android? Well for the near future this device lies in the consumer market – ok one or two banks will roll Android out based on one specific device but Im not expecting much more. Having said this being at the lower end of the cost scale (for some devices anyway) we should start to see some retail banking applications appearing once the security concerns have died down (again later OS releases might help here).

I fully believe that there is a market for all of these devices, however for now Android sits clearly outside the Enterprise. As for Windows tablets; well lets wait and see – when one gets traction we can look at it.

For now (and this is only my humble opinion based on conversations with Investment Banks) my view of the tablet market potential for banks is that the iPad case is clear, the Playbook will have effect in the internal enterprise space (MIS etc) and android, well for now it’s a consumer device. What is unclear is the extent of the Playbooks impact when viewed in conjunction with the Adobe product set, if this is done correctly it may have a greater impact based on ease of roll out from Flex and Flash Based desktop applications.


My current deployment view looks like this currently:


Apple iPad: Client facing & Enterprise solutions

RIM Playbook : Enterprise solutions

Android tablets: Consumer market, retail Apps



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