It is easy to fall into the pattern of thinking that our mobile devices are interchangeable with other electronics. But is your iPhone really the same as your PC or MacBook Pro or even your iPad? Just yesterday, a co-worker mentioned that they had purchased laptops for their for grandchildren for Christmas. When visiting after the holiday, the grandchildren brought the laptops to show their proud grandparents they were using them. In a subsequent visit, the laptops weren’t to be found. Why? Their mobile phones could do it all. Our world is becoming mobile first.
In another conversation, this question came up: What would you give up first—your television (and cable) or your mobile device? Most people present said television. Those who said mobile device often had to think long and hard before answering.
Other than the obvious reasons of convenience and form factor, what else contributes to these devices being so indispensable? One answer is that there are combinations of features that just don’t exist on other platforms. First there are attributes of the device itself:
- All-in-one functionality. Calendar, notes, camera, recorder, weather, contacts, maps, music player, web access, etc.—it’s all there.
- Easy to use, maintain and support. The App Store makes it a breeze to obtain new tools or content.
Most importantly, these features are combined into applications in new and unique ways. The user experience is unlike that you can get on any other platform. Here’s a recent example.
I was away from the office and forgot that I should have approved time and expense reports before heading out. Using the Microsoft Lync application on my phone, I was able to see that a colleague, Tom, was online and available. Using the voice-to-text function, I asked him to approve the expenses for me. Tom did so and then reminded me that I would still need to approve his. Darn, now what? Well, I saw that our controller was online, so I messaged him asking if he could approve Tom’s reports. Poof! In less than a minute, I no longer had to worry about the negative impact of my forgetfulness.
This combination of mobility, convenience, integration of corporate tools and the text-to-voice feature (not available on the desktop version of Lync) was and is a winner. Clearly, a good mobile platform is so much more than a replacement for something else.