What is device continuity?
Years ago, we had multiple physical entities to do a task. A modern day smartphone can now be a calendar, calculator, music player, TV, phone, GPS, and more. However, there still seems to be a pretty big divide between a mobile device like a tablet or smart phone and a full fledged computer. While this may seem a bit different from some of my previous topics, device continuity is super important for a user’s experience. We will look at the big three tech giants when it comes to device continuity: Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
Microsoft just recently announced a whole new lineup of smartphones and laptops that seem to focus very heavily on continuity. Their new Windows 10 phones can be “docked” into a monitor and the monitor will display their full OS as if it were a PC. This is really exciting as you have the best of both worlds with mobile capability and then a computer OS when you are sitting at a desk. They also have a new laptop called the Surface Book which is a full on laptop that has a screen that can be detached to use as a tablet. Microsoft is doing some very exciting things when it comes to continuity and I am excited to see where it may lead.
Apple has a bit of a different approach when it comes to continuity. They are keeping their Operating Systems for mobile and computers very separate but they have features like handoff which allow you to do the same tasks on each and will detect which device you are using in order to continue. You can do things like work on text documents, edit photos, and send text messages from your computer. This is a pretty safe approach which lets each OS do its intended purpose but it seems to not be stepping as far into the future as Microsoft.
Google is a bit unique because they don’t have a super popular OS for a computer. They do have ChromeOS but even that is really a mobile operating system and really like having a browser only. However, Android seems to be extending to more and more devices. I own an android phone, watch, and I have a chromecast that allows me to send media to my TV. The devices work pretty seamlessly across each other and it is a pleasant, continuous experience. However, I use my desktop PC running Windows 10 and my Macbook Pro basically everyday and there is little first party software that allows me to interact with my android phone. There are programs like pushbullet that allow me to send text messages but it is not natively built into the Android OS.
In the end, it comes down to personal preference. Right now, I personally believe that nobody has the exact answer for continuity. In the future I can see myselfusing a mobile device and being able to throw it to a monitor as soon as I sit down and be able to use it as a desktop OS. Microsoft seems to be the closest to that goal but is not there quite yet.