Apple, Google, Microsoft, does it really matter?
DISCLAIMER: Do not read this article if you are a Blackberry user, there is very little information that you will need, as Blackberry is an autonomous entity without a desktop OS counterpart.
The answer is something to the effect of, “Not Really.” Each of these giants of industry now have something in common. They each have phones or phone operating systems that matter to someone. The question really is about who it matters to. With the unveiling of Windows Phone 7 Series (and yes it is just as hard to type correctly as it is to say), many people are defining the move by Microsoft by where its opponents stand. “How will this affect Apple market- and mind- share?“”Microsoft has out-Appled Apple!” The list of quips is long, but that is not what has come to mind for me. The major piece to play for me is how this affects consumer decision, which I have realized, it really doesn’t.
The fact of the matter is this: you will buy the phone from the company that you have the most faith will bring you satisfaction and function. If you are an purveyor of Mac, you will own an iPhone; if you entrust Google with all of your deepest, darkest secrets, you will buy an Android phone; if you have to use Microsoft-based products on the go, you will inevitably choose a Blackberry or a Microsoft-based phone (the if comes next). Recently, the lines have not been so clear-cut due to integration of Microsoft services into other phone operating systems, such as Exchange on the iPhone. And the Microsoft-based products have recently been running on an antiquated phone OS. However, the matter remains, while the services of the Internet are inherently linked to each of these platforms, each of them also still connects to a home base of sorts.
I have been tempted from time to time by the Zune HD; who hasn’t really? But as a Mac user, Microsoft has left me behind and I am unsure if they will ever come to the realization that there needs to be a Mac version of the desktop software. Blackberry was the same way; they have recently created a Mac desktop counterpart with somewhat limited functionality, but Blackberry is not in the class of device to which I am referring. I am a Mac and proud of it most days, but that literally means that I have one of two choices: iPhone or Android. Recently, I received a first generation iPhone from a friend; I unlocked it and I am currently using it with T-Mobile, my provider of choice. Because I am a Mac, it has integrated perfectly into my workflows without any disruption whatsoever. Of course, that is what I would say given that I am a Mac.
This is where an interesting question comes in: Google doesn’t have a desktop counterpart, does it? Well, yes in fact, it does! The desktop is much more abstract, but it is the Internet itself. Google has built its ecosystem for the user, the constantly connected cloud. As it is, they will be releasing a less abstract desktop OS called Chrome OS, but that will really be a thin client to the cloud. I was tempted by this schema as well. How great would it be to have all of my contacts, calendars, etc just waiting for me to beam them into a phone for daily viewing? But inevitably, my lust for the iPhone prevailed, as I am a Mac. For the purposes of this article, however, I will not be making any judgements about right or wrong decisions.
I think what my writing recently has come to is this: I don’t care about technology like other people do. I am not a fanboy in any way. I may prefer a specific phone or OS, but I have chosen based entirely on what I do and how a computing platform makes what I do easier on a daily basis. I have never been a competitive person and I do not feel the need to argue semantics surrounding computers, phones, code, or otherwise. I am a technologist who explores, who learns, who chooses but never makes another person’s choice for them. Thank you for respecting that.
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.