At the start of May I received a replacement for my broken Blackberry 9300 Curve. I am very glad to say it wasn’t another Blackberry, instead I received a Sony Xperia M – a reasonably modern Android phone running Android 4.3.
Moving to an Android based phone, has been a boon for me as it will nicely compliment my Nexus 7 tablet. In fact the commonality of Google and Android is the basis for an almost complete repetition and synchronicity of many of the applications and services I use. I still use a Windows operating system on my laptop, but is not a conflicting factor, as many applications and services are also accessible via the Google Chrome browser.
While of course the Microsoft Windows desktop operating system is still very dominant in terms of usage in the laptop | desktop space and more so with Windows Surface tablets. Having such good quality access to applications and services on two Android form factors (phone and tablet), has made me question the necessity of remaining on Windows as the operating system of choice for the laptop device.
Already core Windows Office suite applications and services (Outlook | MS Word, Excel) etc. are already or being made more tablet or browser compatible. Think of the Office 365 service, and the Office Web Apps functionality, so further diminishing the requirement to have an actual application installed onto a Windows operating system as a necessity.
While most enterprises can’t consider abandoning Microsoft Windows as a device platform altogether, I think the personal consumer and many SME/ SMBs could strongly consider the possibility of an entirely Android (and here I stretch the term a little to include Google Chromebooks) based device eco-system. Google Chromebooks are now a maturing and full featured alternative to the Microsoft Windows based device.
Of course Apple also offer a very compelling set of devices, coupled to a very well integrated operating system and application set. So both Google and Apple offer opportunities upon which to orientate or consolidate on to bring more common device harmony into a business. We should not discount the option to consider a more explicit Linux based desktop system, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint etc., though having tried them for a while, I believe they will always remain a more niche player in the desktop | laptop space, especially with such dominant competition from Apple, Google and Microsoft.
This brings in a further opportunity to consider moving away from device centric applications and data, and how the virtual desktop (VDI) and application virtualisation options also need to be considered along side the choice of device eco-system.
Other aspects to factor into these considerations include
- Data and content storage and delivery – will this all be cloud based – e.g. Google Docs or Microsoft O365 – or are there other factors to be considered?
- Do certain use cases necessitate the use of a local application and data set? (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project)
- Device management strategy – patching and updates – how will they be managed and delivered
Having also tried a Google Chromebook, (having used one while on a holiday break), I can see how it could easily cater for 85% of the work and processes and I engage with as an Information | Knowledge worker. Only that I need to work with and build fairly complex spreadsheets (using Microsoft Excel) is keeping a Windows based operating system as a necessity. I do also wonder how well a device such as Google Chromebook caters for multimedia activities consumers need around managing and connecting with peripheral devices like cameras and editing videos etc.
More and more frequently I’ve seen the Apple Macbook Pro (or the Osx UI – via web meetings) appearing, and presume those users are benefitting from a harmonised device experience between the Apple Mac and their iphone device.
Of course Microsoft also offer their Windows Phone based devices, which also offer a similar integrated operating system and application set. However, the application ecosystem for Windows Phone devices, doesn’t offer the same breadth of application support and availability that Apple and Android devices users have at their disposal. Which for me is a detractor for opting to orientate around a complete Microsoft Windows device ecosystem. Though in terms of UI design and strategy, I think both Apple, Google and Microsoft offer are continuing to recognise the need for distinct and yet harmonious and cohesive UI across all their device form factors.
As both device manufacturers and application developers, build services that accumulate pertinent personal data sets (photos & videos, music collections & playlists, quantitative data (location & travel, health & exercise metrics)), so increasing data transfer inertia or lock-in. I think consumers will need to seriously consider which particular eco-system and device arrangement makes sense for them, as it look likes it will turn into a long term affair, and with not insignificant hurdles to overcome to move or transfer across manufacturers.
- Do you share this view?
- Have you already made a considered choice around a particular device set or eco-system?
- What were the determining factors for you?