With the proliferation of mobile devices into our homes and businesses, we consumers hunger for technology that can interoperate seamlessly.The easy option would be to buy the same branded phone, tablet and PC (e.g. iPhone/ iPad/ iMac or WP8/Surface/Windows 8 or Android/Chromebook). Whilst this makes life easier,you are sure to compromise somewhere along the way.
On the other hand, the deeper the relationship with a single vendor, the harder it becomes to move away. In other words, how many people with sizable investments in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Windows Marketplace would jump ship only to have to buy those apps again? For those with minimal investment, the decision is easy but for those with say $500+ invested in apps, not so much.
Locking users into your own ecosystem is nothing new and smart marketing – it helps to generate an ongoing revenue stream from the sale of software and services after the initial sale of the hardware. It’s a win-win model for developers and vendors. It can also be a win for consumers *if* they choose to stay with that platform.
Don’t want to be tied down?
It’s never going to be a zero cost proposition to change or run multiple platforms but what you can do is look at minimising that cost by choosing the right services up front. For example, apps like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are device independent as the data is stored on their home servers. The apps are simply presenting that hosted data in a device friendly format.
Microsoft Office 365 is another example. Office 365 is a cloud based office that works across iOS, Android and Windows. The app is free to download but you pay to be a subscriber of the cloud service. The alternative of using device based apps would be messy, cause potential formating conflicts and provide an inconsistent experience between devices.
Often forgotten about during the purchasing process, how you have your home environment configured also plays an important role with the end user experience. By running ATVs, TimeMachines and AirPort Express around the home provides an Apple biased environment. Similarly, running a range of Windows machines and Windows shares on the network would be biased towards a Windows environment. By biased, I mean that things should just work with only minor tweaking. Trying to get a Surface RT to work in a Apple only environment would not be minor tweaking 😎
So with all that in mind, this is how I have setup my environment. I run FreeNAS for storage, this enables me to share out my content through NFS, CIFS and AFP shares. It also enables me to configure some space to work as a TimeMachine for my Mac PCs.
My desktop is OSX as I don’t have a need for gaming so no need to run Windows. The only work I do on the desktop is document, video and photo editing which can be done just fine on the iMac. My mobile is the Sony Xperia Z, an android 4.2.2 device. I used to use an iPhone many years ago but these days other platforms have jumped ahead in leaps and bounds. Android gives me the flexibility I need with my handset. My tablet is the Microsoft Surface Pro, it was the Surface RT but I managed to grab a Pro at a really good price recently. The only thing I do on the tablet is email and web browser so it really doesn’t matter what platform it’s on.
So there you go, OSX + Android + Windows 8 and it all works in harmony.