Sunday, December 4, 2011

Microsoft, ultrabooks, BYOD and the battle for the business-consumer devices market

Apple has gained much market share with its iPads. People enjoy the power of a light and easy to carry device and have the power of the web at hand without the size limitations of the smart phones.

However a key criticism for many is that though it is good for information consumption and communication, it is not well suited for data entry and information processing. The new ultrabooks with which also Apple set the trend with its MacBook Air, are a good alternative. A laptop that is easy to use and easy to carry around.

I expect that the big thing for the future will be a powerful tablet that you use as the tablet as you do now, but to which you can add a lid as keyboard to turn it into a laptop.The ultrabook that you then have created has the benefit of making a data connection over the air (3G or 4G) where current ultrabooks only support Wifi. And when you connect it to your docking station and the larger monitor it has turned into a desktop.
Photo by intelfreepress

It will have some limitations with respect to data storage and devices such as CD drives. CD's are on their way out. Data will be available in the cloud or on separate storage devices at home or in the office. Besides the weight and size for data storage will continue to become smaller.

The only thing we need is something physical with dimensions in order to read or enter data. The question is whether we need to carry processing capacity with us or if that would move into the cloud as well.

A single device that transforms itself depending on how it will be used requires an operating system that adjusts itself to this context. I think that Microsoft is following the right direction and if they do this well, they might become a fierce competitor of Apple again in the smart phone and tablet market. Though the concept of an OS that either allows entry via a touch screen as with a tablet or entry via a mouse and keyboard and an OS that targets both consumer and business users is a concept that all manufacturers will have thought of by now, so they should not wait too long. Because people start merging business and private use, you see that Microsoft is slowly losing ground in the business space.

The benefit is that they have a strong foundation in the business space so if they can deliver the same or better experience as the iPad delivers without compromising capabilities for office use and provide all the integration required for business use, they might come back very strong.

Though we might not respect Apple always for its production practices, Steve Jobs and friends did us a great favour to push this consumerisation of technology ahead. A benefit of all these changes is that the operating system finally is becoming a good end-user tool (see also post "Why everyone should get a degree in IT"). We have exciting times ahead and every year we will have some great new toys for under the Christmas tree. What about the new Kindle Fire? The prices are just getting better.

There will always be room for a differentiation between pure consumer products and business products. But we don't want to walk around with two devices. Those people that would need to manage information for business use and like to be productive while away from their desk, they will want a device that can be used for work and privately. As is normal practice now, some people will get a device from work. However, personal preferences will need to be considered (see also post "Forget governance, I want iPhone"). But of those who do not necessarily need one and the company will not provide one, there will still be a group who want to be able to access business data while away from their desk or travelling. BYOD (bring your own device) is becoming a key strategy for businesses to implement.

1 comment:

  1. We won't have the Kindle Fire under our Christmas tree. Only available in the US :(

    ReplyDelete

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