First of all, I’m still alive. I haven’t posted here in quite some time, mainly because of school but since I have some time to come up for air, I thought I’d write a quick post. Even though I haven’t been actively updating this blog, I have been watching the industry and I believe that a trend is forming, and it is a trend I actually like.
For a while now, software companies including Apple have been designing new devices and investing in new opportunities, mainly the tablet market. The tablet market, which Microsoft attempted to create some years ago was just a bit too early for its time. It took the portability of the iPad and the Apple juggernaut to bring tablet computing into it’s present frenzy. What was really interesting about this is that the iPad was not a full-blown computer like the old Windows tablets which were really laptops with a touchscreen instead of a clamshell design. Simple led to something new…
To illustrate that history does actually repeat itself, I have been reading a book called Piloting Palm which is about the founding of Palm Computing, the makers of the popular handheld PDAs. An interesting thing about the handheld computing market was that it was actually set to begin in the very early 90’s. During that time, many large companies tried their best to create devices that would essentially be a computer in your pocket, including Apple. However, they were slow, bulky, limited devices that ultimately failed. What made Palm different is that they recognized that simple might be better so they stopped trying to cram all the features of a PC into a pocket-sized device. That was the strategy they took, and their strategy paid off. Well, it paid off at least from ’96-’07 or so, but that’s a story for another day.
So that’s the first aspect of this trend, that simple is better. And we’re seeing this. Apple is being.. well, Apple. Microsoft has moved away from the standard desktop appearance and is using whatever used to be called MetroUI before they got sued for the name. Now even Ubuntu is growing their already tailored-for-mobile interface and has announced systems for phones and tablets based off the popular open source operating system. Beyond simply changing designs for a more mobile-focused world, all of the major players in the market are streamlining their interfaces and systems to create what I call a streamlined environmental universe. All their devices will connect, Apple with iTunes, Microsoft with SkyDrive, and Ubuntu with Ubuntu One.
And that’s the second aspect of this trend — everyone is getting on board with a mobile experience that is streamlined, wherever you are, whether it be on your laptop, tablet or phone. Each company is providing a full universe of products. What is possibly more interesting is how this trend manifests itself. All these products are causing companies to change. Microsoft has created their first device in-house that is aimed at the computing market, the Surface. If they’ve ever produced another computing device in-house, I certainly can’t remember it. It’s easy to see why, too. Microsoft needed to make the device themselves so that it works flawlessly with their other products. The experience has come to the forefront, it’s no longer about making one device do something the others can’t in order to compete. No, it’s making sure devices work well together within your product universe by providing a streamlined experience. That’s the trend I’m seeing, and I like it.
Have any thoughts to share?… Seeing this trend, or seeing something totally different? Leave a comment in the section below!