Are Kindle and Nook tablets destined for agencies?

The "FCW Insider" blog recently pondered whether Amazon’s new Kindle Fire would reignite the push for using consumer technology in the office. Now that Barnes and Noble has released the Nook Tablet, the question seems even more relevant.

Neither product is a full-featured tablet computer. They’re essentially high-powered e-readers, but they are sophisticated enough to be useful in offices. They can run apps, stream video smoothly and hold user-generated documents.

Our readers were skeptical, at least judging by their comments. “What difference does it make what device someone wants to play with at the office?" GimmeABreak wrote. "The answer to [the question of connecting] to the network was/is always no. Why would you ever think differently? Keep your toys at home.”

However, that's not entirely correct. At the Veterans Affairs Department, for example, the answer is a cautious, limited yes. As Federal Computer Week reported in late September, VA is allowing about 1,000 employees to use iPads on the agency's network in a test program.

And reader Tim wrote, “Only in government would we be having this conversation. Go to any commercial company, get a job, and tell them you want to be able to connect your personal computer hardware to the company network and see where that gets you.”

Many companies do in fact allow employees to connect personal devices to their networks, as long as the devices meet security standards. “As people pack increasingly sophisticated smart phones in their personal life, they're clamoring to use those gadgets in the workplace as well," the Wall Street Journal reported in April. "And many of their bosses are loosening up. They're ditching the traditional BlackBerry-or-nothing policy and allowing a wider range of mobile devices, including tablets such as the iPad.”

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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