Framing the Conversation
First of all this is NOT a SharePoint specific blog, in fact its not about SharePoint at all, so if that is your expectation, stop now, read no further 🙂 With that out of the way, I have had face to face conversations, commented on blog posts, tweeted back and forth with at the very least Jeremy Thake @jthake , Joel Oleson @joeloleson, Andrew Connell @andrewconnell among others about them switching back to either and iOS or Samsung (Android) device, moving away from a Windows 8 Phone. Another disclosure, this is NOT necessarily adding to that specific line of conversation as much as it is another perspective on the topic. I am also making a few leaps here as well, most notable will be
- This assumes that you (the reader/folks I have spoken to) have BOTH a Phone AND a Tablet
- You are free [morally, ethically, physically]* to procure (buy it or get it provisioned to you) the devices aforementioned. *==if you need to distinguish between morals v/s ethics
- You accept this as an ‘academic’ dialogue and nothing else, I have seen some excitable & emotional exchanges on this topic.
A 10’000 Feet Look at me from a Technological Window
So, Ive heard this term used to describe folks similar to myself, “you live in a SharePoint bubble” when looking at our technological stance. Without agreeing or disagreeing with that definition, Id rather put forth another, one that I guess I can stand behind and defend. Id rather say that there is a Fabian bubble and within that bubble I have amongst my SharePoint bubble who is in there 100% of the way, various other technologies; some that I am kicking and screaming as I learn it, some I jump in at the deep end, some I am forgetting, some Im desperately trying not to forget.
However the fact of the matter is that I do work with the Microsoft Stack specifically with SharePoint, it hasnt always been that way, and likely that too will evolve, but for now this is where I am and its been that way for some time now. As a result, when you ask me a technological question, my first thought will revert to what I know and love as long as its an viable solution, and THEN, I will start to look outside
box… as you were, bubble… The analogy I can compare that to is, imagine you are a farmer and someone ask you what produce would you recommend for them to eat with dinner tomorrow; I gather they will think about stuff THEY grow, but if it is not readily available to them, they will suggest other things that the individual can buy.. right?
Availability, Accessibility, and Ease of Use
So, just about everything else I am going to say will be tied back to this larger topic, but first I will do two things (1) I will disclose to you “HOW” these terms relate to me and what I have at my disposal, and (2) how I am defining the scope and usage of these words.
How they relate to me
- I have available to me an iPhone, iPad, WindowsPhone 8, XBox, Playstation and a few Laptops
- All my Microsoft devices have Windows 8 or the latest equivalent installed
- All my iDevices are NOT jailbroken, and have the most up to date IOS build on them
- my iPhone does not have Cell Service, its just connected to WIFI
- my iPad is not 3G/4G its WIFI only
Availability – Here is a public definition, mine is – the item is at hand, or inversely, the item “is not” out of reach, within reason
Accessibility – Here is a public definition, mine is – it builds on availability because although something may be available, it may not necessarily be reasonably accessible i.e. “the item is in my bag, but my bag is across the room”. So accessibility to me is the reasonable attainability of said item, “its in my pockets at all times”
Ease of Use – this one is a bit nebulous right? I can offer you both objective and subjective arguments to the same, but for the purposes of this discussion, lets go with – provides the same or similar functionality and features with the same amount of steps, and look and feel consistent.
Now my Thoughts
So without a doubt we are entering an age where everything is AppCentric and/or Mobile, I can find you studies showing that or you can take it from folks like Mike Watson @jmikewatson or Stacy Draper @stacyDraper here albeit with a little humor
But knowing that, OEM’s, ISV’s, Consultants, Engineers, and anyone who is dependent on Technology to make a living should make their products or services with that in mind. Ill go one further and this is totally MY opinion here… No one Product or Service will have the magic bullet,its NOT an ee-ther or i-ther decision. In that vein, I have made a decision on what I keep around to use. I want one of my items to be a iDevice, i want one to be a Windows 8 device, one day I will probably want to get an Android as well, but I dont want a proliferation of devices either.
Did I consider a Microsoft Surface?
Yes I did. When they announced the RT, I said “…nah, dont want it, I already have an iPad, Ill wait for the Pro”; why did i say that, well one reason was and again this is IMO, – the iPad is a “CONSUMER DEVICE” not a “PRODUCTIVITY DEVICE” and that is how I use it, the Surface Pro was marketed as a Productivity Device so in my mind, the RT is not one. So the question became, do I want to replace my iPad with a Surface RT as a consumer device, the answer was NO! a Clear NO infact, why
- My iPad is/or has
- it has more Apps – only a Volume distinction
- the apps are easier to use, be it more functionality or better in performance (battery life)
- at least to me its less in weight & when i hold it while laying down its easier to accommodate in my hands
- i already own it… no $$ leaving my pocket
- the Surface RT
- I would need to buy one.. try as I may.. I never seem to WIN one at any events I go to.. and I go to alot 🙂
- I would loose Apps that I KNOW I dont have on my Windows 8 Device, & I wasnt going to lug around a iPad AND a Surface RT just because of the availability [there is that word again] of Apps
- Its marketed as needing a keyboard (there are 2 of them, both more than I want to pay) which adds to the price point
So what about the Pro huh?
Well, back to who I am again and what I do; so I am a Developer by academics/profession, its what my degrees are in and what I get paid to do most of the time 🙂 So when I heard that you can install Visual Studio on the Pro, and you have Full Applications for Office etc, that peaked my interest…. but that was wayyyyyyy before i saw the Price OMG, are they nutz? Well when you, if you think like I do, start to say, well, I do like it, and so just how much time will I spend ‘cracking open Visual Studio’ on it, I had to say, hmmm I have a Laptop that has 24GB RAM, I use a few VM’s for my work, do i really need it? and again the answer was NO!
Would I take one IF it was GIVEN to me?
Well, Im not stupid… so Yes, would it have to be a Pro, again, probably Yes, because I see no benefit from getting a RT based on my above arguments. But I am developing Mobile Apps, so having the Form Factor available and accessible would be of benefit, plus there is the coolness and newness factor right? we are all humans here 🙂 So again Yes!
What about switching to an IOS or Android Device for your Phone?
Well, i NEVER thought about doing that. First, I like the concept/idea of having the phones capability LINKED to the PERSON rather than the Application. What do I mean by that? well on my WP8 device, if i want to send a tweet, email the person/group, all I need to do is locate said person/group and perform the application functionality I want to do [this goes back to Ease of Use and the App-Centric Society], now I am not saying other Phones don’t do that, but IMO not as well as Windows Phone 8 and I am also factoring in the Live Tiles Updates.
I also write (or Im attempting to do so) Apps for the Phone and since I am a Microsoft Dev, these are the languages i know, so need I say more?
Do I get tempted to switch because when I pull out my phone I want the same capabilities I have on my iPad — YES, but what I do is get some WIFI and do what I want, or I capture what I want (like a picture or video) and then use the App Later on a Device that support it for instance (1) I use Google+ to record videos for my Kids so they can watch it later on in life (as i saw on that Google commercial), so although inconvenient, I take my video on my WP8 phone, upload it to SkyDrive [which automatically Syncs to my Laptops, I have the App on my iPad] and then I use Google + on that device to persist and share my Pic or Video for my kiddos and anyone else.
I often will get into these conversations with folks I know, dont know, start responding to tweets when I see the topic crop up, so at least now I get to point y’all to this post. Now, understand that as time evolve and as I age and get more cynical, set in my ways, come into a boat load of money so that cost is not an issue, I reserve the right to change my mind:-)
I believe that I (and maybe you) are better suited if you get best of breed among an array of technologies however stay true to what you gravitate towards easily. For me, I love my phone for what it gives me from an accessibility stand point, I love what my iPad gives me from a availability standpoint, and i trade off for my Ease Of Use between both.