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Using a Tablet PC with On Center's Classic and Cloud Products - OST QB DPC OASIS OTK

Reference Number: AA-00213 Views: 8489 Created: 01/12/2016 04:02 pm Last Updated: 08/09/2018 10:46 am 0 Rating/ Voters

Questions

Can On Center recommend a Tablet PC for me to buy to use with your programs? (answered below)

Does On Center recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro? (also answered below)

What about Apple products? (see ALL - Using Apple hardware (a MAC) with On Center's Products)

Do On Center's products work with "Touch" screens? (see ALL - Using Touch-enabled Screens with On Center's Products)

Tablet Recommendations

Although On Center Software cannot make specific recommendations or endorsements regarding personal computers, tablets, or other peripherals, we want to provide our customers with some guidance on the current crop of Tablet PCs available that should work well with our software. Please note, just because software should work on a specific tablet doesn't mean you can use "Touch" to work with our programs. Please see the Related articles for information on whether your Tablet us pointing technology will likely work with our products.

First, you will need to determine what you will be doing with the Tablet. The activities you will be performing and the size of the jobs you will be working on factor into your choice of Tablet PC.

Activities you perform may include:
  • Percenting takeoff objects and Recording Time (DPC foreman)
  • Managing Projects (DPC project manager user)
  • Performing Takeoff and Estimating Projects (On-Screen Takeoff, Oasis Takeoff, and Quick Bid users)
  • Viewing Plans (On-Screen Takeoff, PlanViewer, Oasis Takeoff)
Questions to ask yourself
  • What is the average size of your projects and the complexity/size of the digital plans/Plan Sets you use?
  • Do you bid large jobs (greater than $10M), with numerous change orders?
  • Do you manage plans with numerous addenda (many plan sets)?
  • What type of plan files do you normally use (PDF, TIF, etc.)?
  • What else will be running on this machine (Outlook, Accounting software, other services, etc.)

You also need to decide what form factor suits your business needs. Many of the smaller, more affordable models are Slates. Slates are similar to an iPad™, they often do not include a hardware keyboard (may be an accessory). The screen does not stand up on its own the way a laptop screen does so a separate stand may be required. At the other end of the spectrum are Convertible models, which are basically a laptop PC with a screen that swivels around to become a tablet. These are generally more powerful but heavier and pricier.

On Center does not recommend tablets with screen sizes smaller than 10" - they are simply too small to be used efficiently in the field. The exception is Oasis FieldCenter - it is designed to work on iPads and iPad minis.

Caution
Reminder: If a Tablet doesn't support using a Wacom pen-type stylus (also called an active digitizer screen/stylus), you must use a mouse for pointing. Finger pointing/touch does not work with our software. We recommend you contact the manufacturer of any machine in which you are interested before purchasing to make sure the hardware is an appropriate/working solution for your needs.

What to Look For

Microsoft maintains a list of great laptops, tablets, and convertibles (2 in 1) on their Web site: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/devices (one of our personal favorites is the Surface Pro (3 and 4))

Inclusion in Microsoft's list does not constitute a specific endorsement of any manufacturer or product. On Center is simply stating that the product should meet the expectations for performance and suitability but does not provide support or specific advice for any hardware products.

When looking for a tablet, we recommend looking for a machine with the following specifications:

Entry Level

Suitable for small to medium-sized jobs with one or two change orders at most. These would also be suitable for plan viewing and viewing of smaller projects. Entry-level devices are not designed to work well for large-scale projects (multiple buildings, change orders, addenda), or for working interactively between On-Screen Takeoff and Quick Bid (except for the last-minute changes a Project Manager may need to make). Because of the hardware limitations, these would not be the best choice for replacing an estimator's desktop computer. The biggest benefits to these machines is lower cost, lower weight (matters if someone is carrying the PC around a job site), and extended battery life.

Entry level machines typically come with the following specifications:

  • Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 PRO (Windows RT is not compatible with any On Center Software product)
  • Atom™ processors (single- or dual-core)
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • Hard drive - 32GB or larger (usually solid state - no moving parts)
  • Weight less than 2 pounds (or so)
  • One USB or connection port (if any)
  • Capacitive Touch Support (doesn't work with OCS software). Optional Active Digitizer support (uses a hard-plastic nub pen, not just finger-touch) may be available
  • WiFi connectivity (Broadband (cellular) is a huge convenience but it is often not available on these lower-cost models)
  • Usually, costs less than $600.00 US

These are relatively 'lightweights' in the computing world. If your projects contain more than one or two change orders, multiple divisions, or you intend for this machine to replace your desktop computer, look at a "Power User" model.

Power User

These models would be suitable for performing takeoff and estimating on mid- to large-scale projects although, if the project is very large, working on a desktop with multiple monitors is significantly more efficient. These machines are considerably more powerful than the Entry Level models but are usually more expensive, heavier, and generally provide shorter battery run-times.

  • Windows 10 Pro, 64 Bit (Windows RT is not compatible with any On Center Software products)
  • Intel i5 or i7 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • Hard drive - 128GB solid state hard drive (or larger)
  • Optional Broadband connection (cellular)
  • Multiple USB and other input/output ports
  • Active Digitizer support (uses a hard-plastic nub pen, not just finger-touch)
  • Usually costs over $800.00, sometimes up to $2000.00 or more

These are serious machines and cost more than the lesser powered 'entry level' models, but they are worth every penny to a power user. Most could easily replace your desktop computer, provided you can connect multiple monitors and a real keyboard and mouse to them.

Note
Whichever tablet you purchase, be sure to ask the vendor if it supports the use of WACOM-style active digitizer pens (a hard, plastic nib, not an eraser-type tip) - finger pointing is convenient, but is not compatible with OST, QB, or DPC. Also, be sure whatever hardware you purchase meets or exceeds On Center Software's System Requirements before you purchase the hardware. It's also recommended that you ask the reseller if you can demo the product before purchase to ensure OCS software compatibility.

Can I use a Microsoft Surface™ with On Center's products?

Surface PRO Line (including Surface PRO 2, Surface Pro 3, and Surface Pro 4)

Go for it! We love the Surface Pro and consider it a great option for field work or even as a desktop replacement. You must be on the latest version of our software (OST/DPC 3.93 or higher, QB 4.95 or higher), however, to license properly.

At this time, On Center has not tested our software on the Surface Book, however, there are not technical reasons the software would not work fine on that device.

The original Surface and any computer running Windows RT

The first Surface™ tablet released in October 2012 is known as the Surface RT. Windows RT is not a supported operating system - it is designed to run apps available from the Microsoft Store and does not support running applications installed from an external source (nor is its hardware sufficient for running On Center's products). On Center's products will not work on any device that runs Windows RT.


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