I’m beginning to understand where this has to go. There’s an obvious progression. We – business users in general, in developed economies — started with desktop computers, then added a laptop. Quickly, it became multiple desktops, one in the office, and another at home. Then we had multiple laptops, as we accumulated one and another. Then new devices, as phones became Internet devices. The future is leading us to connection – the same thing on all of our devices.
Say you have Windows desktop and laptop, Mac Desktop and laptop, and an iPhone. We’ve come to assume being able to transfer files and use them on the different computers, using dropbox or briefcase and others. But what about just having your stuff wherever you are? That’s the next big wave.
First example: Amazon Kindle software.
You don’t even have to own a Kindle. Just set up a Kindle account. Buy a Kindle book and you can read it on your Windows or Mac desktop, Windows or Mac laptop, your iPhone, your iPad, your iPod touch. Furthermore, when you go from one device to another, if you have any kind of a connection, the Kindle will automatically synchronize to your furthest read page.
For example, last Sunday when I woke up in New York, facing a cross-country trip back home to Eugene, I checked into the Kindle software on my iPad and remembered I wanted to read Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense by Robert Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer. So I bought it with a single click, sent it to my iPad, and sent it to my iPhone. In the airport, I started it on the iPad. In the plane, I switched to the iPhone when they served the meal. Later, at home, I switched it to a Windows laptop I keep by my bedside, for reading before going to sleep. Later, writing a blog post, I’ll send the book to my office Windows desktop to take some quotes from it as I review it. No problem. I can get it on any device.
Second example: Evernote
Take a note while you’re on the phone at your desktop computer in the office, access it later from your phone when you need it, on the road. Addresses, shopping lists, reminders having Evernote on all of my devices means I’m likely to be able to take the note wherever I am, and use the note wherever I am.
A notepad just for your computer? Just on your desktop in the office, or just on the desktop at home? No, thanks, not as useful.
TweetDeck and WordPress:
WordPress is now available on every computer and every device. So is TweetDeck, which I use for twitter. And I find myself leaning towards Google Docs for word processing, instead of the older word processors, because the files are just there, when I open it.
But still, far from perfect
- Most of the use-everywhere apps still depend on being able to get online. Tough luck with Evernote if you get to the grocery store with the list you made and the phone doesn’t connect. Tough luck with tweetdeck or Google Docs while you’re on that plane without wireless. The Kindle app is a notable exception. It breaks that problem, though, as long as you download and synchronize before you leave the connection. And Google Gears offers some decent options too.
- Screen size is an obvious issue. Not all apps lend themselves to all devices. For example, I like Mindmeister, mind mapping online, and I’ve paid for an annual subscription and I use it on both Mac and Windows. But the iPhone option, reasonably priced at $6.00, isn’t that interesting. The iPhone is too small.
And more examples:
Please help me with this list. I’m just scratching the surface. You’ll think of more examples because so many of us are starting to find and use these device-independence applications, and once we discover them, we like them. Please share them.