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Dell tackles Windows 8 market with tablet app

Executives from Dell, United and a former Totes Isotoner Corporation employee spoke about mobile fragmentation during the “Doing The Device Juggle: How To Support Multiple Devices In A Fast And Cost Effective Manner” session. The panel was moderated by Jim Huempfner, vice president of the industries solutions practice at AT&T, Dallas.

“This Friday you will see us roll out a Windows 8 application for tablets,” said Brandon McGee, director of global media at Dell Inc., Round Rock, TX.

“Tablets are incredibly important for us – we have our own tablets – but this app will work on any Windows 8 tablet, and you will see us continue to make critical investments there.”

Smart computers
When it comes to the app versus mobile Web battle, a mobile app is for a brand’s tried-and-true users while a mobile site is for the masses. It is important to have a presence on both to reach the largest group of users, per Mr. McGee.

To gauge consumer satisfaction, Dell has built surveys and text boxes into its services. The company then reads all consumer feedback and publishes a dashboard that shows what consumers are talking about.

Being able to get solid measurements behind initiatives will help open bigger mobile budgets so that marketers can offer new form factors and solutions for different devices.

It is important to always be innovative and test things that others are not doing. The type of users that adopt these tools will provide less negative feedback because they are simply interested in playing with new technology.

When it comes to getting an organization behind mobile, communication is key, per Mr. McGee.

Mobile wings
Jeff Ulrich, senior manager of innovation at United Airlines, Chicago, said that the next six to eight months will be interesting with new tablets from both Apple and Windows.

With all the new technology coming down the pipes, mobile becomes more of a commodity to equip employees with devices as well. For instance, United’s pilot handbooks have become mobile with an iPad app.

The executive also outlined how United has developed its mobile strategy.

United first launched a text-based mobile site to target BlackBerry users. The company then launched an iPhone app in 2010, followed by an Android version.

Since then, the company keeps the mobile site for all devices and focuses its apps on the iOS and Android operating systems.

When it comes to picking content for United’s mobile site and app, the company initially wanted anything available on the mobile site to also be available inside the app. However, the app also needed to be native and not pull in Web pages.

Additionally, the app includes day-of flight information and some content to research. Recently the app was updated to include a feature that lets consumers buy a United Club pass, showing how the the company’s efforts are primarily targeted towards travelers.

Constantly testing initiatives and being nimble enough to quickly jump on new opportunities is critical.

For instance, United was one of the first brands to take advantage of Apple’s Passbook with an option that lets app users store their boarding pass directly into Passbook.

“All the sudden Apple has Passbook and being nimble and quick enough to program it and get it ready at launch gets you a lot of buzz and positive feedback,” Mr. Ulrich said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York