More people than ever are accessing data on mobile devices, such as smart phones, netbooks, tablets and other small computing solutions. In 2011, for the first time ever, more smart phones and tablets were shipped than personal computers (PCs) and notebooks. For some of us, it’s hard to imagine life before we used these convenient methods of accessing information and communicating on the fly.
The late Steve Jobs called the present era the “post-PC” age. What does that mean? Tablets (like the iPad) and other light computing devices may eventually replace the PC. With an increase in “cloud” computing, virtualization and web-based applications, the need for heavily localized processing that PCs offer will be significantly reduced.
While PCs may not be going away anytime soon, the mobile era is here to stay. You may be wondering what mobile computing options are available before you decide to ditch the desktop altogether. There is no “one size fits all” guidance to mobile computing. Choosing the right device is dependent on user preferences, reasons for using it, functionality and a dozen other considerations.
Here are some components to think about when selecting a mobile option.
Long-lasting battery power is crucial to using a mobile device. Some devices, such as smartphones and tablets, do not allow applications to run in the background because this drains the batteries. Apple also doesn’t allow Adobe Flash software to run on its mobile devices because of the large CPU usage. Other manufacturers balance the need to provide millions of options in applications, while maintaining the performance required by its users.
Size matters—at least when it comes to screen size. Devices with smaller screens are better for short amounts of data, where larger screens offer more viewability for applications and traditional web pages with standard navigation.
Wireless connectivity is key to maximizing the value of your mobile device. Many devices carry a strong signal near a wireless router, however, they may lose strength as you move farther from an access point. You may want to inquire about a device’s embedded wireless capabilities because it is usually the device and not the router that’s the issue.
Mobile devices take a beating. Because of their convenient size, it’s inevitable that they’ll get dropped or spilled on. Find out if a device you’re considering has been tested and independently certified to meet standards for drops. You may also want to consider additional insurance/service warranties for these devices.
It is possible to do a lot with a single device, which it may be required to do if you’re considering replacing your PC, eliminating the need for multiple devices altogether. The best devices offer integrated features, such as GPS, finger print scanners for security, cameras and radio-frequency identification (RFID). When purchasing a mobile device, be sure to consider what integrated features it offers.
If you’re considering purchasing a mobile device to replace your PC in the business environment, CIOs and IT directors expect to see a return on their mobile device investment. This may require some additional training or downloading tutorials on your new mobile computing solution to maximize its functionality and make a positive impact on your staff’s productivity.