The Motorola ET1 Enterprise Tablet PC Review


The Motorola Solutions ET1 tablet PC is this OEMs first enterprise Android-based tablet, and one of only a handful in the market. The ET1 Enterprise Tablet is an android tablet that looks to capture the enterprise tablet pc market. Its direct competitors are the iPad 1 & 2, windows tablets (both new and old) and just about any android-based tablet that has been released.

To the war front, the ET1 tablet computer brings the simple fact that it was designed ground up with enterprise in mind, while devices like the iPad are primarily for consumers with almost zero consideration for deep customizations by firms who choose to use them.

Physical

Picking up the ET1 tablet pc for the first time reveals a device that’s quite heavy, weighing in at 630g. Considering enterprise folks wouldn’t mind a bit more weight on a tablet that delivers, a lighter frame isn’t necessary but would have been better.

The ET1 has physical dimensions measuring 224mm x 130mm x 25mm. Not too bulky, not too slim, again, great for enterprise. It spots a 7-inch capacitive LCD touch display with a 1024 x 600 native resolution and a reasonable amount of bezel surrounding the screen especially on the left and right sides - when it’s held in landscape mode. This bezel area is customizable so firms can get branded ET1s when they place an order. Also on the front are three programmable buttons, along the usual Android home, menu and back buttons we are all familiar with. The three special programmable buttons on the ET1 can be accessed by developers to bring up a certain function within an app, or to serve as an app shortcut.

Attached to the backend of this tablet pc is a handstrap, which makes walking around the workplace with the ET1 in hand a whole lot easier than without. Retailers will have a host of accessories to attach to the back end as they can choose from a barcode reader, magnetic stripe reader, handstrap and holster.

The ET1 Enterprise Tablet simply has the words rugged and built for enterprise written all over it. It’s been certified by the US Department of Defence MIL-STD-810G standard, to withstand falls of 1.2m or 4feet, and also supplies some form of resistance to liquids and dust with Ingress Protection (IP) code 54.

Cameras

There are two cameras on the ET1. Call this thoughtful, but it gets even better knowing there’s an 8-megapixel camera (rear-facing) capable of 720p video record, and a low-resolution front facing camera for video conferencing. The rear camera works great for barcode reading with a rear trigger button within reach after lining up the barcode.

Network Connections, Ports & Audio

Choice for when connecting to the enterprise network is currently limited to standard Wi-Fi a/b/g/n connectivity, and then there’s Bluetooth v2.1 connectivity with Enhanced Data Rate (EDH). Motorola plans to release a Wide Area version with mobile broadband support in the near future.

The ET1 also spots on-board GPS.

Ports on the ET1 enterprise tablet are two USB interfaces, a standard micro USB 2.0 port, full HDMI port, USB On-The-Go docking connector, and an integrated expansion port for accessories like a barcode reader, or LAN adapter to snap-in.

On the audio end, the ET1 features stereo speakers with two microphones – one at the rear and the other front-facing.

Processor

Firms who decide to pick up the ET1 will have it in use for serious business, and from what we see beneath the screen, the ET1 seems ready for just about any task you throw its way. To prove point, it runs a 1GHz dual-core OMAP processor designed by Texas Instruments. Internal memory (RAM) is 1GB with a second 4GB flash ROM providing non-volatile storage for the OS and applications.

Storage

The ET1 tablet computer supports cards up to 32GB, and includes a 1GB microSD card. Data stored on the card can be encrypted for data security. It also supports device management features giving system administrators the ability to lock down the ET1 and prevent Android marketplace apps from being installed, or users from changing system settings.

Battery Life

The ET1 comes with a 4.62Ah hot-swappable lithium-ion battery, which Motorola claims will last 8 hours with general use and a much lesser three to three-and-a-half hours with video streaming. Good thing is that the ET1’s battery is hot-swappable, meaning you can put the device to sleep and swap-out its batteries for fully charged one – with no data loss.

Software

The ET1 comes with Android gingerbread 2.3.4. Considering the bulk of enterprise applications are windows apps that won’t run on the Android OS without some ingenuity, Motorola has came up with RhoElements, an HTML-5 based development tool to port windows apps and create cross-platform applications that will work on Android, Windows Mobile or Windows CE.

System administrators aren’t left out on the ET1 tablet computer as well, as it includes Motorola’s Mobility Services Platform (MSP) letting admins create user profiles for hardware and app use.

Summary

The Motorola ET1 is a great enterprise tablet computer. Indeed, it’s already sited quite comfortably at the top of android’s enterprise tablet foodchain. $1,595 is a steep price to pay for this baby, but firms who have it well worked out will find plenty use for the ET1 even at this price. Motorola has also promised to bring the price down to about $1,000 for large orders.

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