Just a short list of items that have changed how we view our connection to the world through computing, one isn’t even out yet! What does this tell us?
In your home, it’s very likely you have a desktop computer, if not more than one. It sits on a desk, static and never moving unless unplugged. The original mobile revolution was the laptop, it broke that static computer out of it’s caged boundary and allowed us to move with our computer. However, as popularity of laptops grew, so did their size. Eventually, technology began catching up and making them easier to lug around. But one thing happened, or should we say, did NOT happen, and that is the total fade out of desktop computers. I am writing this article on one currently and I own a laptop. The laptop became a secondary computing device, never reaching the status of the desktop computer, thus, still today we have desktops.
Another market was growing along side laptops, cellphones. Cellphones did a couple things; call, call, text, and really junky games that would make the Nintendo NES embarrassed. Then emails entered our cellphones followed by mobile websites. Then, #2 on the introductory list above, the iPhone came out. It gave you access to true websites, true email full of html, and a revolutionary market called the App Store. It became, a mini, in-your-hand laptop computer that gave you access to countless things laptops did… but made it simpler.
Today, I do most of my email, facebook, twitter, calendar, and gaming on my iPhone, and I do it just about anywhere I can get a cell signal or wifi. The introduction of the iPad has the mobile computing community in a frenzy to prepare their services, apps, games, media for what the market is calling the next big step in our social computing story. Everyone seems to be gearing themselves around computing on the go.
So, does that signal a spark that will ignite the fall of desktop computers? That’s the big question because, no one knows. It’s likely that the answer is both YES and NO.
Yes, we are all moving to a mobile structure for integrating computing into our daily lives. We like to get our information whenever we need it, wherever we are. Eventually, technology will catch up and mobile devices like the iPad will fit all of our needs. But that’s the problem, right now, they don’t. Most people will not give up their desktop computers, the speed and size of data storage just do not compare to any mobile device. There are way too many tasks people have that can not be done on a mobile platform currently.
The social media arena will change dramatically because of this, it already is. Completely new social activities are arising from mobile devices. Services like Gowalla and Foursquare revolve around location based data, in other words, to be involved with them, you have to be on the move. Businesses and Corporations are taking advantage of this early on, offering deals and incentives for users who utilize this technology. Gowalla and Foursquare, on a desktop computer, are useless. Expect to see an explosion in development and involvement with services like these and new doors opened to new ideas.
If you build yourself entirely around someone sitting in front of a desktop computer, you just might be living in the past.