If your like most people, today you juggle between multiple device form factors when it comes to what you use for email, web browsing, document creation and editing etc. I am typing this on my company provided laptop ; however I also have a company provided iPhone and my own personal iPad that I typically have with me. They all have different form factors and I use them slightly differently:
iPhone: Phone calls, check Good For Enterprise between meetings or when on the go, checking my calendar , lots of SMS/iMessage/Instant Messaging , personal email / social media and photos (I take lots)
iPad: Taking notes in meetings, answering emails, reading longer emails / file attachements and detailed websites, reading news and industry information, reading digital books and magazines.
Laptop: Checking emails & calendar, using my softphone , content creation and editing on larger screen, viewing multi-media and website reading.
Lots of overlap in what I use each device for while screen size and applications available on mobile orientated devices (iPhone/iPad) versus laptop are key determinates in what I use each device for.
This begs the question – can we imagine a future where our personal productivity needs are served by a single device that can morph from a fully mobile platform into a larger screen solution suitable for full document creation and edit? Its a question many are seeking to provide the answer too – Ubuntu stating their vision is to drive device convergence on their Linux based platform
Pocket Sized Super Computer
Most have heard of Moores Law , the observation that computer processing power doubles every 18 months. So the cost of compute power continues to fall. This same “law” applies also to the mobile devices we carry with each each day. Today in their current iteration , iPhone/iPads and their Android cousins have similar computing power as a basic laptop did 3-4 years ago. Take a look at how thats changed over recent releases of Apples iPhone:
CPU = Central Processing Unit : Core processor for any computing device
GPU = Graphics Processing Unit: Specialised processor for advanced graphics
As you can see from a raw compute/graphics power perspective , the capability of these devices is growing rapidly. Our opportunity is to utilise that compute power to provide a full desktop experience when an iPhone/iPad/Android phone/tablet is docked and a larger screen is available , while also providing a higly functional mobile experience when not docked to a larger screen.
Today within my employers Global Mobility Team , work is progressing on using a powerful combination of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) which has the ability to deliver a full desktop experience when a sufficiently power smartphone/table is docked , while providing a highly functional mobile device when our staff are working remotely away from their desk. For our highly mobile workforce who enjoy flexible work arrangements – this capability is important to our productivity and staff engagement.
While it is early days yet -the goal of simplifying our personal technology with a single personal compute device is a compelling one that I am confident we will see common place within the enterprise over the next 2-3 years.