I’ve just finished scanning my 632 news items in my news feed this morning (I use Reeder on the iPad based on Google reader). Much of the news was from Google’s developer conference. And much of what Google is doing is sort of a fulfillment of Scott McNealy’s (Sun) statement (or wish) that the network is the computer. Google has based its vision on the connected world and online applications.
Couple with this, I saw a Gartner report that Microsoft Windows will slowly drift off to oblivion as a desktop product.
Let me throw a couple of other ideas at this. Several years ago, Tony Perkins who had skyrocketed and then crashed with Red Herring started a Website called Always On based on the premise that we are “always on” the network. That has morphed (or pivoted to use a contemporary Silicon Valley term) to a live conference company. See, it was a desktop site. But we aren’t always on with a desktop. We’re always on with a smart phone, less so but close with an iPad.
Some time ago, I attended the ACP Thin Client user conference. Part of its value add is the value of the network over the value of a heavy-weight PC as a work tool.
I see several automation companies playing with these light-weight, always-on mobile tools for operations, technicians and engineers. Even for execs.
Do you see more of this in the future. Will it be mostly developers and programmers who need full-blown computers? Will most of us use smart phones and tablets? What will that mean for productivity?
The cloud, which liberates the user from the shackles of the Windows or Mac OS, is compelling. The user interface is key. Tablets are not new, they were just feature-challenged and lacking applications in prior generations. (Those stylus pens just never caught on, except in the design world.) The CAD and gaming communities still need high-powered processing and graphics (how coupled with the cloud), so the desktop probably will have a market niche, albeit shrinking. Maybe it doesn't have to be an either-or decision. The cloud can bind everything together and already does in many cases.