According to a report from CEA, over 40 percent of American online consumers now own a tablet and nearly 70 percent are planning to purchase a new device in the future. As the consumerization of IT continues to change the department, it’s no surprise that tablets deployed in the enterprise will soon be a major portion of the overall tablet market.
If your organization is going to deploy tablets to staff, or even if you’re looking to purchase a device for personal use, you should review a report Intel commissioned from Principled Technologies that reviewed four popular tablets on the market and their web browsing performance. Since tablets are best suited for more lightweight work like email, research, reviewing documents, and scheduling appointments, many tasks are completed through a browser instead of installed applications and software.
Principled Technologies evaluated the in-browser appearance, behavior, and usage experience of over 400 websites from Alexa’s Top Sites list. Of all the browser/device combinations tested, the firm found that browsing on the Intel processor-powered Microsoft Surface Pro 2 offered the best experience with the fewest problems—in both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. The team encountered the most issues with the Galaxy Note 10.1, on the native Android browser and Google Chrome, and with the iPad Air. The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 handled 82 percent of the websites on the list without experiencing issues, while the iPad Air and Galaxy Note 10.1 experienced issues in over half of the sites tested.
It’s a hassle when a website doesn’t display properly — forcing you to pull out a notebook to get the full experience or just accept that you’re missing out on something (although you don’t know what). What follows are the kinds of problems experienced during testing:
- Audio/video playback issues. This area had the fewest issues overall during testing, but some sites had problems with video or audio not playing when it should have, or choppy playback. Examples include ESPN’s website, where videos won’t play on some devices, and AT&T, where some browsers displayed a choppy background video.
- Layout issues. Some sites contained bad formatting, unintentionally cut off images or text, extraneous whitespace, or navigation bars not scrolling properly with the rest of the page. Examples include Ticketmaster’s website, where text in the main slideshow was cut off in some browsers, and Lifehacker, where the popular stories list didn’t scroll along with the site for some devices.
- Missing or broken features. Some sites failed to include intended elements or content, had unresponsive buttons, lacked functionality, or did not load at all. Examples include the NBA website, which didn’t load at all on the native Android browser; and Pinterest, whose tour for new users didn’t display.
- Device detection issues. To keep up with a broad range of devices, some websites have desktop, mobile, and tablet versions. These sites choose what version to display based on your browser and operating system. In testing, some sites loaded mobile-optimized versions with layouts designed for phones rather than tablets.
- Touch interaction issues. Some sites did not allow the tested device to perform touch actions, such as zooming by pinching, mousing over menus, and scrolling by swiping.
- Visual/presentation issues. This area experienced the most issues overall during testing. Some sites presented issues on devices that didn’t necessarily hinder the functionality of the site, but could distract you with jumpy navigation bars, sluggish animations, or re-rendering visual content when the user scrolls
About 53 percent of the websites that presented issues offer iOS or Android apps that serve as workarounds. While these apps were not tested, the team did check the availability of an app for every website tested. Some users might welcome these alternatives, but they are not an ideal solution for everyone. Using a workaround app means having to download and possibly purchase the app — taking up home screen real estate and memory on your device. In addition, the app may lose much of the functionality of the website it attempts to work around.
You and your staff shouldn’t settle for a sub-par experience, nor should staff need to be outfitted with both a laptop and a tablet in many cases. For example, the recently released Surface Pro 3 has proven to be a powerful replacement for both devices. Like any good IT manager, reviewing a wide range of options in the market is standard practice, so don’t immediately acquiesce to purchasing an enterprise device simply because a product is popular in the consumer realm.
For more information on ensuring you have a better web browsing experience read: Get a better Web browsing experience with an Intel processor-powered tablet and check out the infographic, Better Web Browsing.