Tag Archives: desktop

From Desktop to Pocket: Why Americans Are Making the Switch to Mobile

Reaching a Breaking Point

In the years since Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the way that people are accessing the Internet. The landscape has changed so swiftly, in fact, that many have been left in the dust. In 2014, an incredible milestone was reached: for the first time ever, users spent more time accessing the Internet via mobile devices than they did on their PCs. Here are just a few reasons to believe that a movement to mobile is more than just a passing trend.

A Short, Snackable Experience

Since the rise of the smartphone, we’ve seen an influx of content that’s designed for a quick visit and nothing more — what some are referring to as “snackable” content. This could be anything from a short video to an infographic to a concise, easily navigable list.

We already know that peak Internet usage happens during lunch breaks, commutes, and decompressing time at home. But in a U.S. market where more than a whopping 178 million consumers now carry smartphones, content is often consumed in even shorter increments. More and more, users are harnessing just a few seconds to tune into the Internet on their mobile devices — and content generators are taking notice, churning out shorter, more digestible tidbits.

Apps on the Rise

Much of the newest research and data on user behavior suggests that users prefer smartphone apps to traditional browsers, and why not? Apps are elegant, to-the-point, and mobile by definition. The best ones make comparable websites seem bloated or even obsolete. In 2014, mobile app usage grew by 76%, and smartphone owners now download almost 9 apps per month on average.

Mobile Can Do It All

Last but certainly not least, users are ditching their PCs for mobile devices because phones and tablets can, simply put, do everything. Look at the device in your own pocket: chances are it can get you in touch with loved ones, snap a high-quality video, help you make an important purchase, check a flight time — the list goes on and on. Once upon a time, consumers felt a need to balance mobile devices with the desktop experience in order to meet all their computing and Internet needs. But PC sales have been declining as more users find their demands met by a slim, lightweight device that’s always within reach.

Looking Toward a More Mobile Future

Make no mistake — the mobile Internet is here to stay, and its reach and popularity is growing daily. Facebook and Google are still the biggest playmakers, with dominant lineups that include YouTube and Instagram. If you’re looking to build a following online, those remain the best places to start.

But don’t discount emerging mobile platforms, including lifestyle and shopping apps, which grew more in 2014 than any other category. It’ll also be in your best interest to refresh and update your traditional website — users still need to visit them, but they’ll be looking for a streamlined, simplified, and responsive interface that more closely resembles the mobile experience.

Thoughts on Adding New Technology to Your Life or Business

Step back for a moment and look at your life or your role within your company. You are a part of a larger system, responsible for input and output and some semblance of order for each. You have either been given or have sought out a set of tools to manage and execute your assigned tasks. You evaluate your existing tools constantly each time you encounter an issue and grumble under your breath or rave about how easy something is to use. Often, we search for better solutions for our personal and professional needs. Based on our knowledge of the tools available and, more important, those that are familiar, we develop procedures to fill these needs and move on, but what should we consider when looking for the best solutions?

In today’s mobile world, the way we determine what solution is best is very different from only a few years ago. Here are a few points to consider as you decide what technology will fill a need in your personal or professional life:

Modern and flexible – Apps that heavily rely on one particular software language may not pose a large risk, but heavy reliance on something like Flash would make iOS consumption difficult.

Mobile-friendly – If the solution is online-based, how does it look on a mobile browser? If the user experience is different, what functions do you lose on the smaller screen?

Appified – Is the solution available in app flavor? Is the functionality limited? Does the original developer maintain the app, or is the function available through a third-party developer? Face it––if the potential solution doesn’t offer a mobile option (and if it seems like this would be useful), smoke is in the air and you should yell fire and run the other way. An app version for most solutions is a given at this point, so if it isn’t available, think again about the ”future-proof” aspect of the solution.

Cross-platform – Not only does the solution have to play nicely with both the Mac and Windows operating systems, the application may also have to play nicely with mobile and tablet versions of Android and iOS, among others.

Backup – Does the solution offer backup? Can you point the application to a cloud storage solution––something easy like Dropbox, for instance––and will the app update its pertinent information (settings, application data, etc.) to the cloud on a routine or on-demand basis? In the day and age of lost and stolen mobile technology, the ability to recover quickly from backed-up data is mission critical.

Exportable – Plan for the future by making sure you can extract all of your data into a format that could be easily imported into a new application.

Offline capabilities – If you lose data connection, does the solution still function? Does it lose any key features or grind to a halt? From natural disaster to being trapped on the A line, we don’t always have the luxury of a data connection, and when it goes down, your level of stress will be determined by how the solution performs when you are off the grid.

Efficient data usage – Is the solution a Hummer or a Prius? In the age of the data meter running virtually everywhere, we have to be cognizant of how much data our solutions guzzle down. Is the solution built with a frugal mentality, or does it require lots of data to be transferred frequently?

Security – Does the solution offer security measures, such as encryption options and password-reset controls? While these measures may not to be required in some instances, in other areas where the transfer of information needs to remain confidential, security needs to be a big consideration. If the solution is for professional use, does it comply with your company’s IT guidelines and requirements?

Plays well with others – Some of the web’s best applications offer application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable other developers to make amazing solutions that tie in nicely to other solutions.

Others want to join in – If the solution offers an API, how many applications are available for the solution? How many unique developers are writing applications for the solution in question? These questions, which may seem like icing on the feature cake, may shine a light on the back operations and health of a solution.

Social – When applicable, the solution should tie in to the social web easily and share content using those channels in a well-formatted manner.

Author: John Carew

Where do tablets fit into the marketplace?

Android, iOS, Windows, WebOS or Blackerry. Galaxy Pad, iPad, EeePad or PlayBook. Each spells change in the personal computing market, but where exactly will tablets end up within the computing spectrum.
Let’s take a step back to the beginning. Desktops lead to notebooks, availability of mobile broadband and the success and subsequent adoption of the smartphone app model brought the age of the netbook. This chain of events pushed tablet computing further than predicted within the last two decades and now the market is growing more and more addicted to mobile computing primarily via their smartphone. The natural transition for the user is to upgrade their computing power, battery life, screen size and port over basic notebook/netbook features to a multipurpose tablet following the same app model they have become hocked on.
Tablet computing only existed as over-marketed attempts to push a barely usable product with pen input as the only option but a design still married to the traditional keyboard configuration. Smartphone screen real estate across the board was significantly limited and the input method whether scroll wheel, touch screen or stylus limited the user experience dramatically. Fast forward to early 2010, pre-iPad era, when users complained of lack of features and processing power from their iPhones not knowing that the iPad was just around the corner. The Apple iPad debuted in January 2010 with only glimmers of hope and expectations for the future the tablet in the marketplace. Much like the early netbooks, many said it had no place in the marketplace beyond the endearment to the Apple fan boys around the globe.
Fourth quarter 2010 brought 4.19 million iPad units sold. Big numbers for a device that was said to not have a spot in the market. Apple already had 75 million plus users worldwide familiar with their iOS and consuming apps by the billions. Apply that same logic to Android coupled with recent talk of the mobile platform taking the number one slot worldwide in early 2011 for mobile OS installations and we see that some form of tablet plus smartphone configuration may just be in the cards. Then assuming success of future devices like the RIM PlayBook, HP WebOS Topax tablet and Windows 7 powered EePads, we see a far more diverse marketplace simply built on the consumers addiction to app and desire to do more.
It’s not difficult to find a real world use of tablet technology from bands to speeches to presentations but are they really the best use of current technology? They are more portable than notebooks to a small extent, overall tablets have a more refined user interface and if units sold are any indication they may be the future of computing. Heavy lifting desktops will be necessary for the foreseeable future, but as we move closer to cloud computing being used by the average user, the move toward a basic browser with Internet connectivity may just be the best fit.

Author: John Carew