February 08, 2012, 9:12 PM — The Phoenix Suns have deployed more than 100 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets over Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network for use by the team's business personnel, players and managers in the current basketball season.
The Suns is the first professional sports team to use the tablets across the company's entire operations, Verizon said Wednesday. The tablets will be used for business development, presentations made to season ticketholders and for in-game promotions, the team said.
The Suns will also integrate use of the Galaxy Tab into various parts of their TV and radio broadcasts, although no specific plans were offered.
The tablets will also by used by players and coaches for game preparations on and off court. Each player will receive a tablet loaded with a custom Suns playbook, as well as video from team practices and games, scouting reports and travel itineraries. Loading that data on to the tablets is seen as away to reduce paper.
The team's announcers are also using the tablets in place of cue cards and related functions, a spokesman said.
The rollout has been "overwhelmingly positive, from both a business and basketball perspective," said team public relations manager Casey Taggatz in an email interview. "We are always looking for a more sustainable, efficient way to operate."
Taggatz said the integration has been "seamless" although training on the devices and in building a level of user comfort is in the early stages.
While coaches and players will use the devices both on and off the court, players will not be allowed to bring their tablets to the bench, according to NBA rules. Coaches can bring the Tab to the bench during games, but no video from the current game can be used.
The 4G LTE capability is backed by Wi-Fi connectivity. The Tab 10.1 weighs 1.25 pounds, with a 10.-in. HD touchscreen at 1280 x 800 resolution. A 1 GHz dual-core processor helps video playback and supports video chat with a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
Neither the carrier nor the team would disclose pricing, the cost of the rollout and other related details.
Phoenix Suns Assistant Coach Noel Gillespie confers with point guard Sebastian Telfair using a Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .