And here-in lies some of the vitriol, negative critique, or whatever you want to call it, against the “mobile elite” – those who hold some amount of sway towards the opinions that an industry adopts towards mobility. Does the failing of Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile, etc. platforms mean that you have conceded your imaginations towards mobile-as-PC type living, or that you have simply transferred your expectations for iOS, Android, etc. to make right the expectations that you keep?
Weird, and layered question I know. And yet it comes from my own living within this industry and the kind of evolution that has been seen within it. Devices were once the calling card. You had a Newton and were at the head of the pack no one knew existed. If you had a PalmOS device, you were closer to the “normob,” but clearly in a level of living that was more Star Trek than Cosby Show.
Things changed, those devices, while cool, gave way to families of devices and the ability to become or at least exist within that family. So then it wasn’t that you had the device which made you popular, but that your device had support of people you knew and didn’t know. It was all about what else can my “family” do that yours can’t. Hence the “great multitasking argument…”
Sorry, was really going to take that somewhere. But, will leave that be for the moment.
Now we are in a new(ish) age of mobile. The conversations about the technology from the people working in the field speak more towards financial transactions, health and wellness, and policy. Things that have something, but really not much, to do with the devices, but what they enable. In a sense, there is is sense that the world has gotten the message about mobile’s unique abilities, and are now asking the question, “how does this now improve what matters most to me in my life?”
This is the grand transformation. It’s about ecosystems, how does mobile fit beyond just being another device or platform? And if it doesn’t, can it have any value in being sustained? If I were listening to much of the conversation around mobile, the percentages tend to fall on the side of “what specs do you have for me lately” rather than “where do you enable that future we were promised?” I don’t know that many mobilists can answer the latter. There are more and more people and sites spouting the specs (dual core, 3D sounds and screens, root or moot, etc.) but not bringing them back to something doable. Why is that?
Could it be that most of the mobilists we hear are those who are mobile in belief only? In some iteration of mobile in the past, they dreamt that something was possible, but were let down. I totally have seen this with my Symbian and Maemo friends – there really was a vision of a future presented, and they bought it, only to be let down (a number of ways). They then decided to spot dreaming? Not to take that passion to another platform and ask the same questions, but to concede that some future was no longer possible.
If that were the case, especially where we are now with mobile, would you trust their expectations towards what constitutes a success in mobile?
What are their expectations? That’s pretty easy. It either looks like Apple (a curated experience, concessions for developers to smooth things for users, and a magic that just can’t happen anywhere else), or Android (a developer-led experience following in the good footprints of Windows Mobile and Symbian, concessions for users, and hidden implications for everyone who aren’t walking ahead of or in step with Google), or Windows Phone/RIM/webOS (freedom from market pressures, a slightly curated experience that doesn’t look out for developers or users in the long term, but offers the best case of magic that isn’t Jobs’ fingerprint – at least directly).
Is there another choice? Is there realistically another choice? And does your favorite voice/soapbox also endear to that while acknowledging the present? I doubt it. Else, their opinions and use would mirror the dream, not the concession.
What happens eventually is that those expectations come to light when their future doesn’t pan out. Some will transfer those expectations to the next best thing, while others will allow their voices to slowly fade away. I try to keep living my dreams, but I find that I am given more opportunity for the latter as the future keeps coming.