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Posts Tagged ‘Tablet

For years Microsoft has been the de facto desktop operating system. Now Apple is using its mobile devices to steal market and mindshare.

Pundits have long expected Apple to integrate its desktop and mobile operating systems; however, recent announcements at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) show that the company is doing far more than borrowing user interface elements. After some tentative starts, Apple has embarked on a full-scale integration between the company’s phone and desktop devices. With new releases of the software powering each, your laptop will soon be answering phone calls, and your phone will share text messages with your desktop, allowing you to fire off a missive from your MacBook to a colleague’s Android smartphone using standard text messaging. While not totally unexpected, the depth of integration is fairly impressive, and doubly so since I couldn’t help wondering during the announcements: why hadn’t Microsoft done this?

A constantly unfinished puzzle

By nearly any metric, Microsoft was years ahead of Apple in the smartphone and tablet space. While Apple was restructuring a fractured business and “playing” with handheld devices in the form of the Newton, Microsoft had produced several generations of its own PDA, and eventually a full-fledged smartphone that was feature rich, but failed to build a compelling user interface around its advanced feature set. Over half a decade before the iPhone launched, a lifetime in mobile technology, Microsoft was introducing tablets, only to be wiped off the face of the map by the iPad. Microsoft’s most obvious advantage in the mobile space was its dominance of the desktop.

If anyone built a mobile device that integrated tightly with the desktop, it should have been Microsoft.

Technology versus usability

While Microsoft may have missed a historic opportunity, more recently the company has been touting its merging of significant portions of its mobile and desktop code. Even user interface elements have begun to cross-pollinate, with the “modern” user interface that first appeared in Windows Phone featuring prominently on desktops and tablets. However, this technical integration is indicative of Microsoft’s larger problem.

As a company, Microsoft’s Achilles’ heel has been an inability to fully integrate different elements of its computing empire, and to present a user experience tailored to the task at hand, not pounded into a contrived, pre-existing Windows metaphor. From the Start button and stylus on a mobile phone, to its most recent technical integration of its environments that completely lacks in end-user benefit, Microsoft is missing the boat on developing a holistic computing experience. Frankly, I don’t care if my desktop and smartphone are running completely incompatible code from totally different vendors, as long as they’ll share information and work seamlessly together.

The Switzerland of computing?

While Microsoft may have missed this opportunity for its own devices, it still represents a key player in the overall computing landscape, and the long-predicted “demise of Windows” is likely several years away, if it occurs at all. An integrated experience between Microsoft smartphones and Windows desktops won’t meet with much excitement, primarily due to the limited market penetration of Windows phones. What would be interesting, however, is if Microsoft were to use its desktop dominance to integrate tightly with devices from Apple, Google, and others.

Such integration might seem far-fetched, but Microsoft already does this to an extent, with its Exchange server happily sharing mail, contacts, and calendars between everything from phones and tablets to laptops and web apps. Microsoft also has decades of experience integrating diverse hardware, and producing operating systems that run well on millions of combinations of hardware is no small feat. Just as Apple’s original iPod hit its stride when the company made it available for PCs, Microsoft could accelerate its cloud services and desktop OS, and ultimately make a compelling case for Windows Phone by providing tight integration with several mobile vendors.

In the mid and long terms, “winning” the mobility wars is not going to be about who sells the most devices, especially as computing transitions away from single devices and into a multi-platform, multi-device world. Microsoft has a chance to regain lost ground by tightly integrating its desktop and cloud services with today’s devices, allowing it to define tomorrow’s computing experience.

 

Kristina Kozlova

Kristina Kozlova
Kristina.Kozlova@altabel.com
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Most tablets in use today are iPad-size. That’s because most tablets in use are iPads. But in my opinion iPad’s just too big (and expensive) to represent the future of tablets.

Recently I’ve asked LI professionals about this. Bellow you may find the most interesting of them.

«I think it is going to come down to lower cost and lower weight. Even as I “type” this answer on my iPad3, I feel the device is heavy. I will almost always grab my Kindle over my iPad with the Kindle app because the Kindle is so much lighter to hold when reading, and I do not want to hover over a table when reading.»
Michael Stella
Experienced Program Manager and Business Analyst

«The short answer is convenience, weight, and price. The iPad debuted as a consumer-friendly replacement for a laptop, so a larger screen felt familiar. With newer, smaller iterations of tablets on the market consumers are becoming more comfortable with smaller screens (helped along by the improved resolution and fidelity of the newer LCDs.) More efficient and powerful processors within the devices make them more useful tools, as well as more portable.
Depending on how you define “tablet market,” you can look to the absolute domination of Smartphones as proof of the convenience/weight/cost model winning out over screen-size. Smartphone sales dwarf tablet sales.
Generally, I think the sweet-spot for tablets will be Smartphones with a slightly larger screen than we see now, but still considerably smaller than the mid-size tablets (the 7″ screens.) They do virtually everything a tablet does now, but has the added benefit of easily fitting in a pocket or purse.»
Bill Begg
Experienced Entrepreneur and Consultant

«For the personal/consumer market the smaller format tablet may have an edge, but for corporate/office use the larger format tablet is already making the laptop and, in some cases, the desktop computer obsolete.
Tablet manufacturers, especially Apple, have done an excellent job at getting product placement in movies and on TV in very suitable uses for a tablet. It is difficult to watch a recent TV program that doesn’t have a tablet in use somewhere during an episode.
The larger format tablets work much better for showing something to someone standing next to you than does a small format tablet.»
Charles Caro
Executive Director at Rebounders United

«Dominate? No. But they are a welcome addition – I really want something not much larger than a paperback that I can slip in my pocket and use for ebooks, but is better functioned that a kindle or similar – and the new smaller tablets seem ideal.
I do think there is one improvement still needed – the size of the screen needs to use all the available space, right up to the edge of the device instead or a large margin around it.»
Bernard Gore
ICT Programmer Manager at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

«I think each new device type encourages entirely new and differing behaviors from us. With a desktop, monitor, mouse and keyboard we’re like these information seeking insects, clicking and typing and mining the web. On a mobile device, we’re out and about, very task-driven, very mesmerized in a habitual way, smoking information like the new great American smoke break or something, transactional, but only in short strokes and flows. We love our mobile devices too, its something Freudian and deeply sexual with the touch screen, the gentle strokes, all the handholding and extremely intimate, personal relations with our data-driven posthumanic sojourns, all our connectedness just a touch away. And then there’s the tablet version 1.0, right? Big touch, big strokes and a much more browserly, relaxed pace that actually feels more like a walk through a catalog or magazine on interactive crack. About the size of a large analog notebook of paper, or a thin book, but a little trendy-cool and somewhere in-between a research instrument and a fast tasking tool. Smaller tablets create yet another in-between, a soon-to-be discovered mental terrain that will most likely encourage a new set of emotions and behaviors. I’m fascinated to see how all of these devices will start to work better together and how the smaller tablets will not necessarily dominate the market so much as inspire new design, interaction, business and technological challenges. Should be really fun stuff!»
Lou Susi
Accomplished designer focused on user experience, design education, curation, performance and dynamic media

In conclusion, big tablets like the current iPad will be popular. But they’ll always be the high-end minority. The future belongs to small tablets like the Nexus 7 and the upcoming mini iPad.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

2011 was an explosive one for the mobile industry. The industry was rife with action, growth, progress, conflict, winners, and losers. We saw the birth of the Android tablet; the rebirth of the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms; the death of webOS-based phones and tablets; the failed AT&T-T-Mobile merger; and all sorts of industry records for apps, downloads, sales, and much, much more.
Here are the five biggest stories of the year.

1. Android domination. Android’s success is unparalleled. It had zero market presence three years ago, and has since ousted every major platform to become the number-one Smartphone system sold. Google revealed its best work yet in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android. Right now, Android 4.0 is available only in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but that is sure to change in 2012. Android has seeped into all sorts of devices beyond phones, including media players, tablets, watches, and more. The year 2011 belonged to Android and 2012 probably will, too.

2. AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Whether you were for it or against it, AT&T failed to acquire T-Mobile USA. The acquisition plan was first revealed in March and played out all year long, step-by-step as the process unfolded. The deal was an attempt to consolidate the second- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers into a single behemoth that would have wielded enormous market power. The Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commissions, after reviewing the deal for months, decided it was a bad idea.

3. Good tablets, bad tablets, ugly tablets. During this year electronics companies introduced 50 new tablets. Few of them were successful. The tablet field started the year crowded with hopefuls, but in the end, only a few struggled to remain. The stand-outs are the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Apple iPad 2, Research In Motion PlayBook, and the HP TouchPad. The Apple iPad 2 is by far the dominant tablet player in the tablet space, selling in the tens of millions. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is a distant second. The bad news is that RIM has nearly sunk its own ship attempting to sell the bombed PlayBook. Worse, HP killed off its TouchPad tablet after it had been in the market for barely a month. Steve Jobs was right about 2011: It’s the year of the iPad 2–at least as far as tablets are concerned.

4. Four-G fight. Mobile and wireless technologies have come a long way. Right now, the wireless network operators are racing to build out their fourth-generation mobile broadband networks. This strength of their respective 4G networks will play a major role in how each of the carriers moves through 2012. Beyond the networks themselves, some of the year’s most exciting and advanced devices included 4G in one form or another.

5. iPhone 5. I know there is no iPhone 5. As Google noted in this year’s Zeitgeist, the iPhone 5–something that doesn’t exist–was the sixth-most searched item on Google this year. “Consumers and analysts alike anticipated the release of Apple’s newest Smartphone many months prior to its arrival,” said Google. “Rumored features included a larger screen, edge-to-edge glass, an 8-megapixel camera, and extensive voice controls. Many believed the phone would be called the iPhone 5.” And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, we got the iPhone 4S, an iPhone 4 with a spec bump and a talking assistant.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Past Monday introduction of another low-priced rival to the iPad won’t keep anyone at Apple’s California HQ up nights, analysts said. They state neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet menace Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. Let’s see what LI members think on this point.

“If you are looking for the best e-reader and not the best tablet – stay away from the iPad – you can’t read it in the sun.”
Michael Greenberg
Corporate Recruiter at Clearwire

“If you want something just to use as an e-book reader, I’d go with the Kindle (not the Kindle Fire). It is, by far, the best of the three for reading. But that’s pretty much all you will be doing with it. On the plus, my Kindle has been in my coat pocket for a month without a recharge. Just turned it on and the battery is sitting at a quarter.”
Greg Henle
PHP Developer at Quotient

“Kindle designed to read the books. People who designed Kindle (at least Kindle Keyboard version) knew few things about books and kept in mind that this device will be used for reading. E Ink screen (no glare), large buttons to scroll pages on each side and month of battery juice makes it simply best piece of hardware for book reading. On top of this, 3G version offers free 3g wireless access to Amazon store at any time. And all this at $139.00.
IPad looks cool, it’s trendy but designed for people who don’t like or simply can’t read, especially something boring like a book. Perfect device to play Angry Birds though. And it cost $500.
And Nook. Well, nobody cares. Honestly, Barnes & Noble should stick to what they do the best – losing in everything to Amazon.
Bottom line: Buy Kindle Keyboard 3G if you need best book reader. For everything else – iPad or any other tablet will do the trick.”
Andrei Vesselovski
Directing e-commerce development and e-branding strategic planning

“I have the Kindle and also an iPad.
I believe that the Kindle is great for reading actual books published with a Kindle version but what it doesn’t do is have a large collection of magazines, newpapers, and RSS feeds that I personally like to follow.
When it comes to reading e-books, I’d recommend the Kindle for great visibility, durability, and it doesn’t strain your eyes. However, I’m quite the night owl myself so I’m disappointed that my Kindle does not have a back light (can’t read in dim lights and I don’t like those little light bulb clips).
The iPad is good for other things (especially with the Flipboard app) like magazines and news, but it does strain on your eyes after a while and is rather heavy without a stand. It does have a back light though and I love reading it at night. Also note that the iPad also has a Kindle app.”
Julie Mok
Experienced Game Flash Artist in Production, Assets, and UI | Game Marketing and Product Management Enthusiast

“Kindle Fire hands down. First of all the main reasons to buy a tablet in the first place are eBook capability, web browsing, multimedia and applications. Kindle Fire supports of all of those at a lesser price than the iPad. Additionally the price makes its accessible to nearly anyone. Add to that the free cloud drive account which means there is no need to have multiple versions with different hard drive sizes.
It’s more portable, the screen is very durable, and because of the size and cost less cumbersome as mobile device. Wi-Fi only is also not an issue because of all the Smartphones with Wi-Fi, why pay for another feature and another data plan?
Also it simplifies the nature of online shopping natively through the Amazon store, which offers music and video much like iTunes, but unlike them you can in the same place purchase other more common retail products also.
The Kindle Fire is the more practical tablet for everyday people and business folks in my opinion, based on capabilities, pricing, accessibility, and how seamlessly it integrates into your regular activities.”
Roberto Blake
Inbound Marketing, Web Design, Graphic Design

And what device do you prefer? Please share your thoughts in comments bellow.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

According to Gartner’s predictions, by 2012, 50% of traveling workers will leave their notebooks at home in favor of other devices such as iPad, Tablets, and Smartphones.

By 2012, 80% of all commercial software will include elements of open-source technology. Many open-source technologies are mature, stable and well supported. Open Source is here to stay. Such as: specific applications such as Gimp (GIMP.ORG) which are now contenders for the commercial market. Look at the CRM market for good open source examples.

By 2012, at least one-third of business application software spending will be as service subscription instead of as product license (SaaS). The web will allow SaaS providers to compete worldwide against established players. Cloud computing & SaaS will be a big push this year – Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, etc are all moving in that directions. I think this will be big for development projects – many organizations will be showing Proof of Concepts with it — and it offers an option to crowded data centers. This type of development will go in conjunction with the changing view of Desktop platforms to the new alternative devices.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to Gartner’s views since they get it close 33% of the time. The OSS trend has been happening for 10 years now, the mobile trend has been visible for some 3-4 years now, and the service oriented trend has been visible for some 8 years now. They have little forward thinking.

In my opinion right now the trend is towards mobile. If you are a developer and you are not developing your application to run on mobile devices, you are behind. IOS, Android, Mac OSX, and Linux are the targets developers need to focus upon.

The next top trend is HTML5 which lends itself to the cross-platform need above. HTML5 still has a fair amount of shortcomings from a consumer perspective, but will solve those when the applications truly require the missing functionality.

Finally, the consumer markets are hot. Enterprise business continues to trudge along, but if you look around consumerization is everywhere.

So in summary, the trends are mobile/cross platform, HTML5/CSS3, and consumer focused software.

One last moment to think about. The software market is changing rapidly, a far faster pace than Moore’s law predicts. Hardware is also changing rapidly – ARM has changed the mobile industry and is about to change a lot more in the coming months. Software developers need to be looking much further ahead than Gartner just to keep up.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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