Since you've been stuck with the tiny screens of the iPhone, I'm not surprised you were a phablet skeptic :). Actually, five-inch screens and up are quite unwieldy. No argument from me. Even the Samsung Galaxy S III with its "mere" 4.8-inch screen is somewhat awkward in my pocket, and it's my phone of choice, so far.
I've seriously pondered whether I want a Samsung Galaxy Note II as my next phone. People who have them really love them, and I stare at phones a lot for the Internet. But 5.5 inches, that's a lot to carry in a pocket. (No jokes, please!)
As you know, I'm a fan of phones the large screens because I think they are better for Internet viewing and getting work done. It's interesting that so many consumers (relatively speaking) are buying and liking phones of five-inches or more. I assume that people who buy large-screen phones/phablets have tried them and know what they're getting. I also assume they are more tech-savvy than most consumers.
But perhaps the greatest value will be for enterprises, and many vertical market positions, as you just noted. I'm also a fan of using a stylus for certain applications, especially on phablets and tablets. Like for your restaurant hostess, a stylus could be useful for taking orders, checking off reservations, etc. And it's a lot neater for a signature on an receipt than using a fingernail.
I'm a fan of GoodReader on the iPad for marking up pdf reports. Very useful for highlighting sentences/images while I'm reading the first time, rather than having to go back to re-read the report when I'm using it as a reference for a blog, for example.
On the iPad, with its big screen, using my finger in GoodReader works just fine. But perhaps a stylus is in my future, and it would be even more useful for its precision on the smaller screens of phablets.
One reason I'm satisfied with the iPhone's small screen is that I don't spend long periods staring at it. Most of the time I'm just sending and receiving a text, or entering some nutritional information in Lose It, or checking in on Foursquare, or configuring Runkeeper, or listening to an audiobook or podcast (and in the last two instances, I don't actually look at the screen at all once I've hit PLAY).
So almost all my interactions with the iPhone screen are less than a minute at a time.
Sometimes I'll spend a few minutes on twitter or reading somethign in Pocket, but that's rare.
If I'm spending more than a few minutes looking at the screen, I do it on my MacBook or on my tablet (currently a Nexus 7). One or the other is usually a minute or two away from whereever I am at the moment.
I completely understand. Lots of people -- most, I assume -- use their phones that way.
I spend a lot of time on my phones, more than I should, when just grabbing a laptop or a tablet -- which are often nearby -- would make more sense. I'm a prisoner of inertia!
This all fits into my video about how much computing power and capabilities people really need. I use my phone so much that a big screen is important (and my myopia doesn't help!). But I also have a Chromebook, which many people consider useless for "real" work because it's not sufficiently powerful for them.
I am pleased with my Chromebook because it does most of what I need. If it were more expensive, my requirements were more advanced or I weren't usually in WiFi coverage, I wouldn't have bought it.
The plastic is creaky and the screen isn't the brightest, but it's plenty bright. Some reviewers have praised the hardware, but I'm a bit less enthusiastic. Also, the base is lightweight, so it can tip over on your lap, although I almost never use it that way.
The keyboard is good -- for today's chicklet keys (which I hate). I really prefer longer key travel. The keyboard seem similar to the MacBook Air, but not as good at the MacBook Pro. The trackpad is okay, although it's not anywhere near as good as Apple laptops, but nothing is. Because of the slow processor and 2GB of internal memory, the Chrome browser can get sluggish with more than 12 or so open tabs, but I haven't found it a problem.
The Chrome OS is updated about every six weeks, I think, and it's seamless. It still turns on in about ten seconds and awakens from sleep almost instantly. I assume it doesn't accumulate lots of OS junk the way Windows (and even OS X?) does.
By the way, for the first day or two that I used the Chromebook, it crashed two or three times. I was ready to return it, especially when it displayed a message that said something like "The Chromebook has experienced a serious error." Then it rebooted (and downloaded a new/uncorrupted version of the OS?), and I haven't had a problem since.
There is something about a laptop with a lightweight OS that updates in the background, is supposedly always free from malware, weighs 2.4 pounds and costs $249 that makes me like it!
I think it makes a lot of sense for enterprises to consider it, if only to have a few around for "emergencies" when there's a problem with Windows -- and specialized corporate software on a local hard disk aren't needed. Like the iPad, it's ready to work in seconds.
You have hit the nail on the head - in terms of making effective choices. Many people are still making decisions on buying the latest technical capabilities. Now, that there are so many options and devices, one needs to think about the power and the functions and build the tools that work.
What you have outlined is a way to build the access and capabilities the user needs. In actuality, if IT would do that more, I believe they would have better usage and ROI for the technology they purchase.
Many, or maybe even most, employees can work fine with a Chromebook. They need email, they need documents, they're not creating presentations or running complicated spreadsheets.
Mac OS X doesn't seem to accumulate cruft at anywhere near the rate that Windows does (or did. My last intimate experience with Windows was XP). It accumulates enough that I do a clean re-install every two years or so. But I regularly try out indy software, so I might accumulate cruft more rapidly than most people.
Businesses helped neighbors with Internet access and mobile device charge-ups during Sandra. Following that example, enterprises should consider preparing Internet disaster plans to help the public during disasters.
A survey by JD Powers found that customer interest in product features is lessening as phones evolve. Rather than features, price is driving purchases, and that change could have a dramatic impact on how IT departments secure these devices.
The iPad Mini is the latest iteration of the exploding tablet category. Because most tablets are WiFi-only, they create a new kind of mobile network. The problem is that we don't have issues like roaming and security defined for this new world.
Intel's numbers say the PC is at risk, and Microsoft's Windows 8 interface is an attempt to make Windows relevant in the tablet age. But Microsoft could be betting too much. A dramatic transformation to cloud-and-appliance would mean a big change for our industry.
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