smartphones: will they bring the fun back to PC’s?

By in cloud, general, mobile, products, social networks, strategy on Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Watch people with smartphones. They seem engrossed. But they aren’t talking, or texting. They’re playing with them.

Its the applications. People are downloading stuff and exploring this latest cool technology. Suddenly the means has become the end. Again.

What do I mean – again?

What I mean is, it seems just like PC’s were when we first discovered them. Exciting, cool. Until Microsoft made it all the same and well, boring.

But this is different. There’s diversity. We’ve got iPhone and Android. Nokia’s joining in, too.

We’re learning stuff, not just using the shiny bits. Could this bring PC’s back to life…?

Under the hood

The PC became a utility tool. We were stuck in front of them at work and given the same, boring interface to look at. The PC Police wouldn’t even let us choose our own wallpaper. What was that all about?

Apple broke ranks and dared to be different. They took Unix, the geekiest of geeky things and made it the coolest of cool things. Something you wanted to look at, to explore.

The trouble was, they also made it expensive. Unless you were a creative or just a poser, Macs were out there, out of reach.

The shoehorn effect

Apple’s mainstream popularity didn’t really arrive until iPhone. Here was a phone we actually wanted to use. The majority of new-to-Apple customers came to Mac via iPhone. Could people start to discover PC’s again from Android phones?

Android for PC’s – and Ubuntu, too?

Very soon, we’ll have PC’s powered by Android. A simple to use, quick and easy gateway to the Internet. And when we get to the Internet via Android, people will find Android apps.

Whatever you imagine, you’ll find it. But unlike Microsoft’s marketing and exploitive world, you get to keep your wallet in your pocket, your purse in your handbag.

A PC World – of choice… I give you Open Source

But this wouldn’t work if it was just one source. We need competition and options. Not just to drive innovation, but to keep us all engaged. So it can’t be just Google running this race, we’ll need someone else.

That won’t be Apple because Apple costs too much. What we’re after is another free world.
Open Source.

A place were people are doing stuff not just because they’re paid to, because they love to. Sure, free pays. Look at Facebook, or YouTube. But we’re talking PC’s, so look at Ubuntu.

A chance to smile again at your PC

Ubuntu means “I am, because you are“. It means its there because you want it to be there. Its a great way of working, fresh and light and every six months, you’ll get something new. Every six months its a little better, sure, but also a little different. More fun, more engaging.

Technology can be cool

If smartphones have shown us anything, they’ve shown us tech can be fun. Phones have shown us it doesn’t have to be that easy – phones can be pretty tricky to learn, after all – but they have to be able surprise us, do the unexpected, make us laugh. But in a good way. Not crash, like Microsoft PC’s.

So maybe smartphones could take us places we’ve been before but have forgotten about. Back to PC’s.

2 thoughts on “smartphones: will they bring the fun back to PC’s?

  1. 1

    Whilst I agree that iPhone gave the Apple brand the kiss of life, I am not that sure about the Android/PC connection – given the chatter about tablets and i-Pad like devices. I would suggest that Android tablets could have a future but the price would have to be competitive against Apple.

    You have to consider that an Android phone like the HTC or Motorola when bought off plan/SIM free cost the same as an iPad. I know which I would buy!!

  2. 2

    Hi, Danny, thanks for your comment. Great point about the tablet. I realise I should have mentioned that now!

    I think the market’s strong for home PC’s as well as tablets. Netbooks too are selling well, in fact outselling laptops. The trouble is that laptops have been hiked in price so aren’t being bought as just a convenient-footprint product for use in the home like before.

    You’re right as well about price. The new Samsung Galaxy tablet costs over £680. That’s £180 more than an iPad. That’s crazy! The Dell tablet is pretty uninspiring, given that they had a clean slate (tablet?) to start from.

    I stand by what I say, though, when the Android-powered PC hits the street we could see a revival, with Apple, Ubuntu and Android offering real choice to customers!