Following on from Matt, Alice, Ben and Dan…
1. Computing is heading towards a new, simplified era.
I’ve written about this before, but fundamentally: we’re on the cusp of a revolution in simplicity. Easy to use touch interfaces are the final piece of the jigsaw, and will devices easier to use than ever before.
2. The most important thing about the iPad is the battery life.
Yes, it’s a lovely screen and runs great apps and its easy to use. But none of this would matter if it didn’t also have the ability to be thrown in a bag at the start of the day and not plugged in again till the end. Not having to consider power makes a massive difference in how usable a device is. It’s the one thing about the iPad that really lifts it from cool toy to essential.
3. When it comes to broadband, speed is less important than always-on.
Yes, it’s great to have 50Mbits/sec pipes into your home. But it’s much, much more of a game-changer when you have 1Mbits/sec on a mobile device that you carry everywhere. Ubiquity trumps speed.
4. In five years time, not using your own name is going to look as old-fashioned as an AOL-style handle now.
Hundreds of millions of users have got used to the idea that they use their own name online, via Facebook. It hasn’t hurt.
5. “The hobbyists” are losing control… and they won’t like it.
Up until now, computing and technology’s culture has been largely determined by a group I call “the hobbyists”. Traditions like anonymity and the primacy of code have been part of the unwritten law of the Internet. That era is dying, and “the hobbyists” don’t like it. Expect culture clashes between this old Internet and the new one.
Over to you…
It’s three months since the launch of the iPad, and the much-heralded “Android iPad killers” are somewhat thin on the ground.
HTC, probably the best Android hardware company around, isn’t making one. Neofonie’s WePad isn’t just missing in action – its site has vanished is still around, although the WePad has metamorphosed into the WeTab and still hasn’t been released. MSI hasn’t released its 10in Tegra-based tablet. Dell, of course, has brought out the Dell Streak, but that’s not really in the same league as the iPad. And LG has announced… something. For the fourth quarter of this year.
Of course, Microsoft is still claiming that it will have tablets which will make the iPad look second-rate, despite the quiet demise of the HP slate that Steve Ballmer showed off earlier this year. Whether these slates will actually have what it takes to be a success is moot: certainly, so far, Windows-based slates haven’t proved popular.
The only company to make a successful business out of them has been Motion Computing, which wisely focused on the kinds of vertical markets which need both Windows compatibility and a well-built slate format.
Mary-Jo Foley, one of the most astute observers of Microsoft around, puts it thus:
“All that said, there’s more to a slate than just the physical form factor. If there isn’t longer battery life, instant on/off and some kind of app store with not just the usual business apps, but also consumer-focused apps and games, I’m not so sure users are going to bite…”
Amen to that.
As someone who grew up on BASIC and actually did some serious projects back in the 80′s and 90′s using HyperCard, I’m massively in favour of simple, easy to use programming tools. So Google App Inventor instantly caught my attention.
And then I saw it.
The only people who could possibly think that this was “coding for the rest of us” are people who’ve forgotten when it was like to first learn how to create programmes, and that have never seen the incredible, powerful tools that something like HyperCard had. With HyperCard, anyone could pull together something and have it working without having to write a single line of code – but if you did delve into the code, you could do amazing things in a language that was closer to English than BASIC.
App Inventor hasn’t learned the lessons of HyperCard. And that’s a shame, because simple, powerful development tools are pretty thin on the ground.