I don't have an iPad, and I don't have the patience to just go to one of New York's always-crowded Apple stores just to mess around with one that often. So, when I see someone using the device, I always find myself craning my neck to see what nifty thing that user is doing.I am an Apple guy - I switched from PCs six years and two laptops ago, and I'm on my second iPhone (I had one of the first-generation, EDGE-only slugs and now have a 3GS). But in my heart I know the iPad, as cool as it looks and as fun as it is to monkey around with occasionally, leaves a lot on the table in terms of what a tablet computer could truly be capable of. I'm fine with the "walled garden" approach on my iPhone - I don't need a ton of functionality for a screen the size of an index card - but if I'm going for something that's more computer than phone, I want more options, especially at that price point.
That's why when I read at InformationWeek about HP's coming new tablet, and in the Wall Street Journal about a proposal from LG, I got excited. I'm not embarrassed to say that I would really like to own a tablet. My MacBook Pro is nice, but I don't want to always have it on my lap when I'm just noodling around online - it gets hot. Of course, straining to read articles or e-mails on my iPhone for more than a few minutes isn't much of a trade-off. But if I'm going to invest in, essentially, a new computer, I'd like to have a little bit more than the iPad offers - specifically, as LG promises from it's Android-based tablet, "the ability to create content, rather than simply display it."
What's great for insurers, though, is the emerging amount of choice in functionality and programming platform with the coming wave of tablets. Several insurers I've spoken with have expressed interest in exploring mobile options for their field agents, rather than using it only as an outbound consumer-marketing platform. Tablets certainly offer more than phones, and not being restricted to just one device (though that didn't stop Patriot Risk Management from giving it a whirl) can only help bring about the next generation in distribution strategies.
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio