Going mobile means changing the way we think about computers

I’ve been trying out all kinds of technology. The Droid Incredible, the motorola Xoom, iPad, chrome os laptop cr-48 and comparing those to the experience I have on a traditional legacy desktop. So what’s my conclusion? It’s really freakin hard to go mobile. In a way you could say that it’s not the technology or me not knowing how to use technology it’s more that the world is just not ready for that kind of action or at least the people that are still stuck on a desktop don’t know what to do with the mobile crowd.

Word processing is just not happening right now in the mobile place, I know that the ipad app, pages, is out there and works great but it’s not encompassing that I wanna go device to device never having to compromise never having to transfer files that’s just not in Pages. It is still a desktop thought. Google Docs is a great option and it works on and across everything I have but there’s no formatting in mobile.

Here’s what I’m getting at folks the way we work or the way we have worked for the last 20 years may just not work as we move into the future. Think about it this way the computers of the past have all been designed to basically create paper, to make a printed copy of whatever content it is your trying to communicate to others. However with mobile devices you really never need paper. If there is something you want to look at it’s on your Droid, it’s on your iPad or whatever mobile devices in your pocket or in your bag but it’s not a folded up piece of paper in your pocket or a folder or a binder. This means we should start thinking about where some content you produce will take as a final resting place and that is not likely to be paper.

The second part of this is the fact that we are changing the way we communicate we don’t really write out stuff anymore at least not big letter. Communication has become this spontaneous thing we do anytime, just whip out the phone write something and on you go. I think voice input is going to be a big key. In fact I wrote all this with the voice input from my phone and yeah it messes up but it’s not hard to back up and fix and it’s a lot faster than typing on a tiny keyboard.
Bottom line is that you can go mobile, you can go completely without the whole desktop modal but the real key is making sure that there is nothing specific you have like a certain program that has no web version. If you’re just producing text, email, blogging, and the core of communication, mobile is definitely going to save you so much money, time, and frustration once you understand the limitations. I say limitations but where you might lose some things you gain the opportunity to move around.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Evidence that we are not yet ready: when you pull out your smart phone in a meeting, you feel the need to justify it and explain what you’re doing: “I’m not texting or emailing, people! I’m taking notes!”

And even if I was…why is your meeting (a) even happening or (b) not engaging/productive?

Jeff Ribeira

I personally think the desktop will always be king (at least for now…). While mobile technology and cloud computing are hot topics and continue to grow in popularity, I don’t think they ever will be, nor are they meant to be, a replacement for the desktop. I like to think of the relationship as being more complementary than anything else.

Sure going completely mobile might work for certain people and their lifestyles, and really aids communication, but it’s still very tough, as you said, if you need to do any kind of serious document creation- digital or otherwise. I’m coming from a designers perspective where screen size and hardware most definitely matter! While I love, and use mobile technology on a daily basis, for people like designers, developers, programmers, editors and the like, it’s tough to imagine the next big thing that will eventually phase out the hi-res screens and powerhouse hardware. But it’s coming…not sure what it is yet, but it’s coming.

James Ferreira

@Caryn voice input is horrible about punctuation and we really don’t speak like we write. These are certainly areas of great opportunity for advancing technology. I for one can’t wait to see those developments happen. 😉

Jon P. Bird

Ease of input will equate to more information being passed out, meaning we may have to spend more of our time serving as Gatekeeper to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s already hard to do. What do you do in this mobile environment if you want to store something?

Dannielle Blumenthal

Future is 75% mobile, 25% desktop because you need to have a full screen and keyboard for critical thinking. At least I do.

That’s one thing I dislike about iPad, you have to buy a regular keyboard separately.

Dannielle Blumenthal

Future is 75% mobile, 25% desktop because you need to have a full screen and keyboard for critical thinking. At least I do.

That’s one thing I dislike about iPad, you have to buy a regular keyboard separately.

Paul Jennings

The technology is not the issue – it is culture!

We have to relook at what is acceptable regarding communication of information. In the article you managed to convey your message is 500 words – how many times have we had to write 1000’s of words just to satisfy some archaic expectation?

By changing our culture so that our expectation is to deliver and receive the facts and not the waffle will help the transfer to a more mobile workforce which in turn allow us to take better advantage of the tools in hand.

Secondly we need to think about how we record information. Why do we take notes only to write them up later or copy that information into a separate system. We need to be smarter at getting as much information as possible into systems at the first point of contact. We need to create smarter, more intelligent, forms and better interfaces where possible. We also need to share that data with other systems, and organisations, so that we collect it once and reduce the chance of error.

Finally, picking up on the point that typing lots of information on a mobile device can be tricky I would ask – is bulk typing the best way forward? What about mind maps or similar which blends graphics with text?

Just a few thoughts!

Christina Morrison

Interesting post James – this will definitely be an interesting development to follow. We all have so many devices with which to view (and create) new content on, that those who figure out the best ways to transition content from device to device will be the most helpful.

James Ferreira

Great comments! I think it is becoming clearer every day that the mobile market is rapidly ramping up to take over the legacy PCs. Something I did not really hit on is the whole green aspect of tablets and phones. Anyone can tell that there is considerably less waste just by comparing the size. Power is also so low that I am thinking about getting a solar panel to recharge with. Sadly my office window faces north. Maybe some kind of battery pack I can recharge on the roof during the day and plug in for evening recharge.