In the first two parts of our Vanity IT series, we’ve gone over how some of the top smartphones and tablets can potentially bring additional productivity to your workplace with a proper Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Mobile Device Management strategies. In our final edition of our Vanity IT series, we will go into other mobile devices that can present your company IT solutions and solve many of your remote computing problems.

Hybrid Smartphones

In 2011, Samsung developed the first device that was successfully a tablet and a smartphone with the Galaxy Note. Featuring a five inch display, the first tablet/smartphone hybrid, or “phablet,” was immediately popular. These hybrids allow the user to complete tasks that are difficult on a smartphone’s smaller display, while giving them the connectivity and mobility that makes smartphones useful.

Nowadays, as demand for larger and more dynamic displays becomes a major selling point, many manufacturers are producing these larger devices. It’s still unclear if this wave of larger devices is here to stay, or if it’s just a niche market created by manufacturers that acknowledge the relevant marketing strategy of “the bigger, the better”. Some of the best smartphone hybrids available today include:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – The second generation of Samsung’s bohemiath smartphone, the Galaxy Note 2 features a 5½-inch high definition display that dwarfs most smartphone screens. It comes available in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB versions with the capabilities to add an additional 64GB via MicroSD expansion. The device offers Samsung’s S-Pen technology, which is a smart stylus that comes with the device. Anything your finger can do, the S-Pen can do, while incorporating the ease and fluidity of being able to actually write on the device’s massive display. The Galaxy Note 2 runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system with additional features for S-pen integration placed on the device by Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can be found for $199.99 with a two-year service agreement. Up next: Galaxy Note 3, Fall 2013.
  • LG Intuition (LG Optimus Vu) – The LG Optimus Vu (known as the LG Intuition on Verizon) features a five inch display with a 4×3 aspect ratio. With this aspect ratio the handset is difficult for a user to use with one hand and presents issues when trying to view video. The display makes the device great for viewing websites, however, the Intuition also features the use of a stylus, LG’s rubberdium. While the stylus integration isn’t the same as on the Galaxy Note 2, the Intuition does feature a dedicated quick memo feature. This feature allows a user the capability to push the dedicated quick memo button the the top of the device to bring up a notepad. For this reason, it is a great device for quickly jotting down information on the fly. LG has also used it’s Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities to benefit the Intuition by integrating the use of programmable NFC stickers. This will turn on or turn off features on the phone by just hovering the device over the programmed sticker. The LG Intuition runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with the LG Optimus user interface (UI) skin on top of it. The LG Intuition is also $199.99 with a two year service contract. Next up: LG Optimus G Pro, available now.
  • HTC Droid DNA 4G – The HTC Droid DNA 4G comes equipped with the industry’s first 1080p HD screen on a huge five-inch display. This alone makes it competitive with some of the industry’s top handsets. According to many industry professionals, HTC has done an excellent job incorporating many of innovative features that makes for a successful smartphone offering. It doesn’t utilize a dedicated stylus, but the dynamic display is fast and efficient for productivity purposes. The HTC Droid DNA runs the Android Jellybean 4.1.1 operating system and is one of the only Android handsets to integrate wireless charging capabilities. The HTC Droid DNA can be found for as little as $120 with a standard two-year service agreement. Up Next: HTC One, available now.
  • Sony Xperia Z – With a superior 440ppi pixel density in its dynamic five-inch display, Sony’s flagship device, the Xperia Z competes with the highest-end handsets on the market. The Xperia Z features a Gorilla Glass case, front-and-back, and is water resistant up to one meter. The Xperia Z runs the Android Jelly Bean 4.1 OS and comes with 16GB of onboard memory, and integrates an expandable memory slot. It is not an LTE capable phone, which will benefit the Xperia Z’s battery life at the cost of Internet performance. The Xperia Z is not yet available with a service plan in the US, but will be coming to T-Mobile soon. You can pick up an unlocked version of the device for the retail price of $629.99. Next up: Nothing in production.

Other hybrid smartphones include: Samsung Galaxy Mega, Lenovo K860, Huawei Ascend Mate.


Like handsets and other touch-screen devices at the forefront of this mobile computing revolution, notebook computers seem to be taking a backseat. There are several smaller notebook computers, called subnotebooks, that still present users the most concise tool for mobile productivity. Four types of subnotebooks include: Macbooks, Ultrabooks, Netbooks, and Chromebooks.

  • MacBooks – As Apple has become the word leader in mobile computing, many of the devices in their line of MacBooks have been discontinued. The two holdovers are the razor-thin MacBook Air and the high-performance MacBook pro. The devices come equipped with Apple’s OS X (Mountain Lion) operating system and feature many of the applications that veteran Mac users would expect. The MacBook air comes in 11-inch and 13-inch models and starts at $999, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,199.00.
  • Netbooks – Netbooks have been around for over five years and since their inception they have been known to deliver an unparalleled amount of value over other devices that run basically the same hardware. In fact, many netbooks are equipped with hardware that is suitable for larger notebooks. Most netbooks run a version of Microsoft Windows, with newer offerings featuring Windows 8. Some of the top-selling netbooks on the market include: the ASUS Eee PC 1215B ($450+), Sony VAIO VPC-W121AX/T ($499+), Acer Aspire One D260-1270 ($299+), Lenovo Thinkpad x120e ($399+), HP Pavilion dm1z ($299+), Samsung NF 310-ao1($375+).
  • Ultrabooks – Ultrabooks are basically suped-up netbooks. The are defined as high-end subnotebooks that run high-powered Intel processors. Many ultrabooks feature low-power Intel Core processors and extremely fast solid-state hard drives. Ultrabooks typically cost substantially more than Netbooks; so you pay for this added performance. Ultrabooks such as the ASUS VivoBook S400 series ($699+) and the Acer Aspire MS-481PT-6644 ($699+) feature touch screen displays like a tablet, but offer the computing power of a high-end laptop; all in a compact chassis that make the devices perfect for mobile computing. Some of the Top selling ultrabooks include: the ASUS Zenbook Prime VX32VD-DB71 ($1,099+), the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 ($1,299+), the Samsung NF310-a01 ($399+), and the HP Pavilion ($299+).
  • Chromebooks – The newest addition to the subnotebook market, the Chromebook offers users an affordable alternative to many of the other subnotebooks on the market today. Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS, which is essentially a an operating system that uses the Linux kernel and the Google Chrome browser with an integrated media player. Chromebooks are mostly designed to be used with internet connectivity as there is no dedicated software that is compatible with the device outside of Google web apps. The increased breadth of these cloud-based offerings are becoming increasingly substantial, making it an outstanding value. The latest Chromebook launched, the Chromebook Pixel, is designed to be a higher-end device and the $1,200+ price tag suggests just that. Other Chromebooks include: Samsung Chromebook ($299+) and the Acer C710-2487 ($199+).

This concludes our look at some of the top-selling mobile devices on the market. There is a more-than-decent chance that the individuals within your organization have purchased one (or more) of the devices described in this Vanity IT series already. To make your employees mobile device purchases work for your business, the first step is understanding the problems organizations like yours have endured in the past, and then setting up well documented Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) regulations that include a bullet-proof mobile device management strategy. This practice can pay for itself in the amount of additional productivity you can attain by doing so.

For the best practices of how to manage your employees mobile devices or to get suggestions and advice on how best support this mobile trend, contact Think Tank NTG at 800-501-DATA. Our experienced technicians can help you best utilize your IT.

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