December 18, 2014

Where are the Desktops in the Mobile Ecosystem? [Opinion]

We all remember Steve Jobs’ statement that we’re living in the ‘Post-PC era.’ This statement was widely spread and some people truly started believing that the days of the PC were over. I do not share this opinion, I think we should look at mobile devices as an addition to the PC’s, not their replacement. Unfortunately, most manufacters and app developers don’t realize this. Yes, for most every day tasks like browsing the web and checking your mail, tablets and smartphones will do fine but their main target is media consumption, not production. In this article I’m going to discuss a few ideas that developers should take into consideration.

Let’s take Whatsapp as an example. Text messaging alternatives like Whatsapp are spreading faster than providers can say ‘Hey, where did my profit go?’. The most important reason of this ultra-fast adoption is that Whatsapp is crossplatform. It runs on Windows Phone 7, Android, iOS and even the outdated Symbian. With a little work-around, you can even get it to work on your Honeycomb tablet. Say goodbye to your unlimited texting plan and say hello to mobile internet. The only problem? It doesn’t work with your PC, and that’s not good. Let’s say I want to send someone a Whatsapp while I’m writing this article. I would have to get my phone and type it on my phone, but wouldn’t it be easier to write it on my laptop? It shouldn’t be that hard to create a desktop app for Windows and OS X. But no, there is no Whatsapp for your PC and there will never be, unless developers change the way they look at PC’s. We need them.

I don’t blame Jobs for this, but he can be held co-responsible for this issue. No, there’s not going to be a post-PC era anytime soon. I mean, would you like to write a book on your iPad? No matter how intuitive touch interfaces are, nothing beats the old school mouse and keyboard combo. On top of that, it’s true that ARM processors are becoming more and more powerful but trust me, your Tegra2 won’t beat a Core i7 accompanied by 4GB RAM. No, your tablet won’t run Crysis and it will not replace your PC. It is simply an addition to your PC. It’s a device you can sit on the couch with and do some random browsing. It’s a device you take with you on your bus trip to quickly watch a piece of your favorite movie. I admire tablets, but I don’t think they will ever be as fantastic as a PC. Developers — wake up and integrate desktops into your ecosystem.