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Bill Belichick does not like tablets

During the New England Patriots’ Oct. 2 loss, cameras caught head coach Bill Belichick throwing a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Belichick was justifiably upset with his players’ performance, but there may have been more to the story.

On a conference call this week, the usually tightlipped coach went on a five-minute rant about how much he dislikes the Surface tablets the NFL provides teams for use on the sidelines. Belichick said he plans to return to using printed pictures, because tablet-related issues hinder the productivity of coaching staff and players — in turn hurting the team on the field.

“I’m done with the tablets,” Belichick said. “They’re just too undependable for me. … There’s no consistency to it.”

Microsoft paid $400 million to get the Surface in front of the league’s huge (but declining) audience as the “official tablet of the NFL.” So naturally, both organizations released statements defending the device’s performance and reliability.

But any organization with tablet users needs these devices to function properly. One of the major draws for tablets in the enterprise is that they are portable, so frequent travelers and field workers can easily work out of the office. If users run into problems like Belichick experienced, however, a big benefit of the tablet is lost. Users who need to give presentations on the road, for example, could lose last-minute changes if network connectivity isn’t strong and the edits don’t save.

The NFL only gives teams the tablets a few hours before each game, so the IT department does not have much time to identify issues with the devices, Belichick said. In most organizations, that simply wouldn’t fly. IT pros must constantly monitor tablet usage to make sure the devices are up to date in terms of security and the necessary apps business users need. They should also have a plan for how to access and troubleshoot remote users’ tablets in case there is a problem.

All of this comes at a time when some experts say tablets are poised to overtake traditional PCs and laptops in the enterprise. The Surface Pro 4 and Apple’s iPad Pro are designed with business users in mind, for instance. At this point, though — at least for Belichick — a tablet can’t quite keep up with the old-school approach.

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Well, here the point is not Mr. Belichick nor the Surface, it is only the software on the device. If the software is bad or complex to use, really it doesn't matter if you have a mainframe power in a tablet, or the graphic resolution identical to the human eye, then you will only have in your hands a rock or a brick to throw it.... like Mr Belichick
Some of the issues Belichick identified, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, may be hardware-related.
Yes, but not necessarily the tablet's hardware

I am a Surface user and love it. I have had a few issues regarding network connectivity as well over the last couple years using my Surface. Mostly it has been Wifi equipment or network issues and not issues with the Surface. I would also say as far as Belichick's issues, that it appears to be an issue of not having adequate time to load the tablet, or resolve issues should any be found with only a couple hours before game time. Most tablets have the same issues and most of the time it is simply a network issue, as they seem to be much more common problems for all tablets.

I just find it astounding that MSFT's Marketing Dept. would tolerate this <exceptionally> imbecilic IT practice. If I understood correctly, the Teams' IT Techs don't maintain the devices, make sure they're in top condition (patched, updated drivers, etc.) and completely field-acclimated -- AND that each Team's IT Dept. wouldn't do advance work as they go on the road to make sure WiFi signal / bandwidth is tested and proven to be rock solid. What a way to blow $400MM and potentially billions of goodwill that the campaign is intended to create.
Interesting that they decided that the application of the technology just simply did not fit the required use. I believe they know exactly what they are talking about.

I am sure the Surface tablet lovers out there will cry foul, but in the real world of a situation where time matters the utmost, these devices are not sufficient. A device that is designed to do it all can not be truly great at doing anything in particular. An expensive waste of resources.

Sounds more like the problem is NFL related as they only hand out the tables a few hours before each game. By keeping the tables at the teams all the time you get more familiar with the device and IT has the ability to prepare and manage the device more efficient.

If a shoe sponsor would sponsor the NFL and hand out the shoes only a few hours before each game you would get complaints about sore feet too. Would the problem then be bad shoes?