In the trends toward tablets in construction it seems that Apple isn’t necessarily always king. This new wave of excitement around connected devices in construction has been driven in large part by builders and contractors excited about the prospects of using the iPad. But others in the industry are at least trialing out other devices too in order to find the best fit for their company.
For example, steel erector and industrial contractor L.P.R. Construction, www.lprconstruction.com, Loveland, Colo., will soon begin trialing the Samsung Galaxy Tab, www.galaxytab.samsungmobile.com, Seoul, South Korea. L.P.R. will be testing out roughly 50 of these devices, running a mobile time-tracking solution that it just recently implemented within the company. Thad Lutgens, director of IT, L.P.R. Construction, points to the portability of the device (the original model features a 7-inch screen), the openness of the Android platform, and the ability to add more memory to the device as being among the attractive features of the Tab.
Speaking particularly on the ability to add more memory to a device; while that might not seem like a big deal at this point, one can only wonder how valuable an option like that might be in the future given the high rate of data associated with things like BIM (building information modeling) models being shared and accessed in the field. Lutgens discloses that he doesn’t anticipate getting to that point, but does like the option should it ever arise.
Admittedly Lutgens, director of IT, L.P.R. Construction, is a fan of the Android operating system in general. “I love being able to choose the form factor that works for us … I don’t like being pinned down to one device manufacturer … ” says Lutgens.
The latest version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 features a 10.1-inch screen, plus dual surround-sound speakers. The dual-core tablet will run on the Android 3.0 operating system and includes such features as an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, plus support for HSPA+, Bluetooth, and dual-antenna Wi-Fi.
Could a move to more Android-based devices become the trend? While the iPad still has captured plenty of marketshare, some in the market see a changing trend when it comes to mobile connected devices. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, www.strategyanalytics.com, Boston, Mass., the number of U.S. companies supporting Google Android has reached 42%, inching close to Apple iOS, supported by 49%. Both still trail RIM (BlackBerry) at 72%.
In the move towards tablets, it is good to know you have options. Many construction software providers have tailored their software set to run on devices like the iPad, while others have engineered their product to run on multiple devices and operating systems. Whether it’s the software or the hardware, there are multiple options from which to choose—ultimately putting the power into your hands.