The Future Is Now

Imagine if you could take thousands of data scores or observations in the field or laboratory and with just two clicks transfer it all, instantly and accurately, to a server or on the cloud. That would save time and speed up critical decision-making. That’s possible. With more mobility in the workplace and more devices, plant breeders are beginning to reap the benefits of the latest hardware and software technology. Enter tablets.

Tablets allow for more efficient and enhanced note taking with the ability to snap a photo and link it to your data. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true, especially when evaluating fruit crops where color, size and shape are critical. Numbers are still the foundation, but photos strengthen your records.

If you’ve ever spent a day working your way through hundreds of plots, they all begin to blur. Where were the best genotypes?

Today, there are plant breeding software programs that are tablet friendly and automatically sync your day’s scoring to the main database when you connect to the Internet. That is incredibly powerful and efficient. Ideally, you might want to walk across a whole field with many experiments and upload a whole field’s data at once — even more powerful!

Like smartphones and laptops, there are a number of options. If you’re considering making the switch to a tablet or looking to upgrade, consider:

  • Weight — When you’re in the field, it’s essentially an extension of your body. The lighter it is, the better.
  • Screen size — There are a variety of sizes, from 7 inches to 10 inches. The larger the screen, the less scrolling and more freedom you’ll have.
  • Screen reflection — Choose a tablet that has a good reflection, especially for outdoors.
  • Durability — It needs to hold up in field conditions (80- and 90-degree days with full sun and high humidity).
  • Performance and storage — You’ll likely want at least 2 GB, but ask questions and do your research.
  • Camera — Does it have a camera? Your enhanced note-taking capabilities will depend on an internal camera.
  • Upgrades — Unlike phones, tablets tend to get upgrades. Make sure it’s at least on the current operating system.

Now that you know what to look for, happy shopping.