Will mini tablets get traction on the farm?

by Community Manager ‎11-05-2012 01:55 PM - edited ‎11-06-2012 08:24 AM

iPad miniII.jpg

I was at the coffee shop with a few friends recently, and realized that one of us was packing a smartphone, one a tablet, the other an in-between-sized mini tablet. A fellow sitting next to our table was working on a full-sized laptop.

 

There you have it: four basic types of computers to choose from now. It was my first hands-on look at the small tablet, and it was intriguing.

 

Today, Apple announced it had sold three million iPads in the first three days since launch of its new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad. Some observers had expressed doubts about whether the company would find a hot market for the iPad mini. Would consumers take to the smaller form, for one thing?  Do you really need an iPad Mini if you already have a full-sized tablet or a smartphone?

 

The iPad mini is competing with other down-sized tablets, including 7-inch tablets based on the Android OS--the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. (Here’s a review of the three: c\net comparision.)

 

My friend's device is a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (more info). He likes its size, which allows him to carry it in his pants or coat packet, and the fact that it offers good note taking capability and email message creation. It has a lot of storage, gets good wi-fi reception, and comes bundled with plenty of apps, he says.

 

It will be interesting to see how this computer choice plays out on the farm. In our last farmer poll on the subject, taken late last winter, nearly the same number of farmers, about 15%, owned tablets as smartphones, and the growth rate for both appeared to be on a sharply upward arc.

 

Is there a niche between the phone device and the full-sized tablet? As Apple proclaims, the mini’s got the full iPad experience, including a “vivid display,” and it uses iPad apps. Plus, you can easily hold it in one hand.

 

So imagine being able to check an animal’s ear tag or turn over a plant leaf, while easily holding your computer in the other hand and flipping through an app for tracking animals or plant diseases.  Out in the field you’ll be able to juggle a variety of chores--record data, communicate with suppliers, manage equipment; and keep track of weather, news and markets—all while you’re on the go, with a device you can carry in your coat pocket.

 

However this new technology plays out, for now it’s exciting to consider yet another hardware option that can provide more computing firepower for the farm.

Comments
by on ‎11-06-2012 12:44 AM

I don't think the I-Pad mini will be a big purchase item in the ag sector.  In my own opinion, I believe Apple released this for grade school kids.  It is a device that is less expensive than the full sized tablet, so it can be competitive to the Android and Windows based tablets.  I believe this will be a tablet that you will see some schools buying in lots and utilizing them in education.

by on ‎11-06-2012 09:51 PM

What I've said for several years is I'd like a mini-pad with a phone built in.  I'd use my earpiece as I do now and make most of the calls by voice command, as I do now.  I think it would be the ideal device.  Would want two cameras, wi-fi, 4G, touch pad, swype, skype and would want it to use Windows 8.  Would like a separate blue-tooth keypad to use as a data entry device, as well.

I think I will be migrating from two PC desktops and two laptops, a smartphone and an iPad to one desktop, one laptop, one tablet and one smartphone.  The minipad would take the place of the latter two.  I like the deskto pto run the two monitors and the laptop is mostly for my amateur radio hobby.

by on ‎11-07-2012 10:23 AM

I'm on the other side of the fence from Shaggy98.  I think mini tablets will be HUGE sellers in the ag sector in the very near future.

 

There's a very good chance that our employees will have iPad minis within a year.  As well, we'll probably get another couple to put in the grain carts.  We'll be able to capture all of the same information we do now.  Except we won't have to touch it twice.  Currently we keep written records then have to manually enter the informatio into the computer each night.  With the mini tablets we'll be able to enter data into spreadsheets right in the field and use cloud storage and sharing capabilities.

 

Also, with wi-fi enabled devices (we'll also activate the cellular plans for each device for $20/month during peak seasons) we'll be able to push calendar events, work orders, etc. to all employees.

 

Tablets will also allow each employee access to repair manuals as well as a camera and email capability for diagnostic & parts ordering assistance.  Not to mention simplifying maintenence logs and inventory tracking.

 

 

 

by Agrimatics ‎10-26-2013 02:50 PM - edited ‎10-26-2013 02:51 PM

I agree with EMNJK.  We have an iPad-based grain cart weighing system on the market ( www.agrimatics.com ) and a large percentage of our customers use the iPad mini.  It's a good size and good price.