Technology doesn’t always get smaller. When Doster Construction found job-site and general contractor applications for PDAs lacking late last year, the Birmingham, Ala.-based construction firm decided to upgrade to tablet PCs, and has seen such a seamless adoption among personnel and a sky’s-the-limit host of applications, that they’re already plugging the use of tablet technology in bids and meetings with developers across the Southeast.

“With the PDAs, we were basically limited to doing punch lists,” says Doster network support specialist CJ Rainer. “The functionality and software of today’s tablets mean we can do anything that we could do at a desktop PC: issue safety reports, access hot list items, scheduling, plan review, anything you can think of. It really takes project management to a new level.”

After evaluating available tablet PCs (including the Panasonic Toughbook), Doster opted to roll out F5 tablets from Austin, Texas-based Motion Computing, which sees large-scale multifamily and commercial construction as one of its fastest-growing industry verticals.

Although Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based UDR has been focusing on consumer-centric mobile technologies (the REIT released its Pedestrian Apartment Navigation Search mobile app for T-Mobile Android phones on Sept. 15, with iPhone and Sprint app availability in October), the company’s development and operations team has begun attacking mobile hardware and application possibilities for on-site maintenance and service workers via both handheld devices and bar code functional tablet PCs.

“We’re writing a mobile application for iPhone service request,” says UDR vice president of marketing Steve Taraborelli. “But we are also seriously looking at bar code technologies for parts and inventory management and also for the service request side of the business.”