I read an article about a New York restaurant that saw a significant impact to its business because of mobile devices playing a much bigger role in our lives. Even though the article is most likely fabricated it brings yet again to our attention how our world has significantly changed over the last 7 years and that we’re still adjusting to the new (and ever changing) reality of “smart” mobile devices.
It’s almost fall and we have yet to see an iWatch announcement. In an effort to make a last-ditch prediction (with the goal to see if it turned our right), I will lay out a couple of principles that I hope will be proven right over the next several months and years.
1. Watches have almost exclusively become status symbols. This wasn’t always the case – I can remember a time when there was still a need to have a timepiece on your wrist. But that is no longer the case and hasn’t been for almost 20 years since the advent of the mobile phone.
I was wrong. Nokia has not been a game changer for Microsoft. The real issue has never been on the hardware side.
Looking back (almost) a year, a report concluded that nobody cares about the Metro UI or what is now called the Windows 8 UI. I can’t help but wonder: just as lousy as the marketing efforts to rebrand Metro have been, so are the numbers that show the adoption rate of the new UI.
Remember the 80’s? The 8-bit and 16-bit computer era where fragmentation was the norm and each computer company produced its own operating system?
This time around we’re in the 64-bit space and computing has become ubiquitous. Which poses some challenges for the likes of Dell, HP and now Blackberry - especially now that we have a quasi resolution to the Microsoft-Nokia relationship. How does the new world look like compared to the 80’s?
The first part of the headline is pretty much taken straight from the media. It’s almost as if mass-hysteria has taken over the world with doom sayers already predicting a clear line of sight to the end of the PC. Supposedly, because of tablets the consumer will shift activity towards pure media consumption and the PC sits unused somewhere in a corner. It is true that tablets are excellent for consumption of media - but for the rest of your digital life, not so much.
The PS4 is a great piece of hardware on paper – but actually, Sony said so itself: it’s a super charged PC. This signals that the era of innovative gaming hardware has finally come to an end for the console manufacturers. Sure, there are peripherals such as the Move controller but for what it’s worth, the PS4 as well as the new Xbox (720?) will be based on good old x86 architecture. This isn’t Sony’s fault of course – it’s simply a fact that chip advances by Intel and AMD for high performance workstations and servers have continued to scale Moore’s mountain.
Android is often cited as being a too fragmented ecosystem. Supposedly this is the reason why Nokia decided to go to bed with Microsoft (actually,
it’s still debatable but I’ve written my thoughts about it here). It doesn’t help that hardware OEM’s such as Samsung and Sony are slow to upgrade their firmware with the latest Android release and hence the reason why still almost half of all Android devices in the market run on Ginger Bread 2.3 (as per http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html accessed on 1/28/2013) - but to make things more complicated, it’s no longer enough to develop and test apps on smartphones and tablets, there is a
whole slew of devices running android coming, and these do not fit in any particular category.
For all this speculation about how magnificent Apple is going to re-invent the TV and how Jobs with his last breath decided he had completely figured it out – there is a simple truth that TV is already dead.
I had the opportunity to play around with Windows 8 tablet and had some initial observations in how I think Microsoft still fails to make it a viable iPad competitor. But first off, this is not a review and as such, these flaws can be fixed in future revisions. It is also not a Metro focused overview since there are not that many Metro apps available. One would hope that the full Office assortment becomes Metro at some point whereby some of these shortcomings could be better addressed.
Steve Jobs famously proclaimed that the stylus was too cumbersome to use and would not in fact improve workflow and input method. He proofed us right with the iPhone and the iPad – in contrast, Microsoft was all wrong – not just with Microsoft tablet PC that started in 2001, they were wrong even in the early 90’s with Windows for Pen Computer. Bill Gates is a true believer in tablets with stylus but in the last 20 years, he could never muster the innovative minds in his own company to make it work. Likewise, Apple spent a lot of time and money in the 90’s to perfect what was called the Apple Newton. The Newton could decipher handwriting and convert the result into Ascii text.