Can mobile devices replace a computer?
Not too long ago I was reading this article over at Android Central. In it the team questions whether they could do away with desktop or laptop computers and just use their mobiles.
The general feeling was that in part, for your general web browsing, purchases etc. “yes”. But generally speaking for ‘work’, the increased power and functionality a desktop or notebook brings is still advantageous.
It got me thinking about my own usage of a smartphone and computer. Could mobile computing actually replace my desktop?
For me the answer still firmly remains a no. My productivity for daily tasks at work would be too greatly hampered. However the beginnings are there. Where once you had to switch on a computer to check your email, make purchases or do a bit of online banking, now your phone will suffice.
I could write all my emails and documents on my phone. Would it be practical? Most certainly not. It is very much possible though and you need not be tied to a desk all day.
My partner for example uses nothing other than a tablet or her smartphone. The same goes for my mum, my brother and many friends of mine.
For most a smartphone or a tablet is more than enough unless your job or interests require the additional benefits a standalone computer can bring.
It’s really the comfort and convenience factor that makes interacting with a computer better. The large keyboard and mouse is a far smoother experience than a smaller smartphone screen. Yes you can connect keyboard, mice and even a phone to an HD display. This still remains an impractical proposition for most though and requires the need to often carry extra components.
Devices like the Moto Z have modules like a projector which could potentially assist with the large screen issue. Whilst the likes of the HP Elite X3 have a Lap Dock. Then there’s Microsoft’s Display Dock for Lumia phones.
Finally almost all Android and iOS phones can use Google Cast, which allows wirelessly mirroring the screen image to a larger display. Everything is getting better! Yet for those who have a lot of work these are not always practical everyday solutions. They are feasible though and workable when the time arises.
Ultimately your work and interests will inform your usage. For many the form factor of the desktop computer poses many benefits.
Clove customer Barry Jenner runs Cameron Fourcourt recently found himself in a bit of a predicament. He shares his story.
Yesterday I was at a meeting with a client and had to present a web application as well as a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet involved some modelling work to show outcomes. It wasn’t particularly complex but was an essential part of the presentation. I had taken my Windows Laptop and I have a Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor to wirelessly transmit to an HDMI TV screen that I had been told that I could use for the presentation.
As you can imagine I felt confident that I was prepared. When I got the client to set up I found that the HDMI TV was screwed to the wall and that the HDMI ports were not accessible. To make up for this the client had a free HDMI cable with a male plug on the end.
I didn’t have anything to connect the Display Adaptor to the cable as the display adaptor only has a male plug and no socket. I used to carry an adaptor for my laptop to HDMI in my bag. I’d left the adaptor at another client’s a while back though, thus the Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor. I really didn’t want to transfer the files for the presentation onto their computer display computer. So I was sort of at a loss of what to do next.
I rummaged about in my bag and found my Microsoft Display Dock and cables. I was therefore able to connect my HP Elite X3 to the TV using the display dock. So using the phone with OneDrive was able to access all of my documents and open those that were needed in Mobile Excel, Word and even two PDF’s as well as the web presentation.
I used the screen of the phone as the track pad and have a small Bluetooth keyboard on which I was easily able to type. The only difficulty I had was that I ended up perched on the end of the table rather than my intended position sitting back from the TV, this was a limitation of the available length of the cables, something that of course would have not been an issue had I been able to use the wireless display adaptor.
The presentation went without a hitch and of course the changes that we made to the documents were instantly saved to my OneDrive.
My client was impressed that the phone had provided the display and indeed the last 15 minutes of the meeting were filled with discussions of how far a mobile phone could possibly go towards fulfilling the computing needs of the mobile worker.
Whilst I would have ideally liked to have used my laptop for the presentation, I didn’t find any issues with using the phone other than those presented by the short cables, but that was more about the way that their TV was attached to the wall rather than the available technology as the Wireless Display Adaptor would of course work with the phone just as well as it would a laptop. I thought that it performed so well that I might chose to use the phone for such presentations in the future.
To me this is a perfect example of how mobile computing works more impressively than many give credit for.
Do you still use a laptop or desktop? Or is everything you do mobile first?