Actually, the title is a bit misleading, since I don’t mean the smart phone will replace PC in the future, which is a common viewpoint nowadays.
The advent of successful mobile products such as iPhone, iPad, android makes it possible for people to perform some tasks which were only available on PC device. It’s also true that many companies have ported their flagship products to various mobile platforms. While these don’t mean the PC is dying.
As a software engineer, I had been working on the desktop version of my company’s flagship product for 3 years, and around 6 months ago, I moved to work on the mobile version. My experience is, the mobile version opens a new dimension of the product, while it still heavily relies on the desktop counterpart. It’s really hard to build a fully featured mobile version, which makes desktop version superfluous.
- From the hardware perspective, the mobile platform doesn’t have the same processing power as what on the desktop. The mobile device is also limited to screen device and needs to carefully monitor the battery consumption.
- From the software perspective, the os is kind of a lite version of the desktop counterpart and so is the SDK.
- From the security perspective, the mobile device is much less secure since people always carry it around and it can easily get lost or hacked.
- From the product perspective, almost every company’s flagship product has a long history, its feature set is built through the year to year hard work. It’s hard to port all of them to the mobile platform at once, and due to the other points listed above, it’s probably doesn’t make sense to port some of them at all.
My opinion is that the mobile device is not a replacement for the PC. Instead, it would serve as a portal for all the electronic devices in the same network. People can perform some rudimentary tasks through the mobile device. But if people want to do a serious job, it’s much more productive to do it on a Desktop PC.
Saying that I believe there exists a big potential opportunity for Virtual Network Computing (VNC) in the enterprise market. As to the consumer market, technology such as Bonjour will be exploited to a new extent to facilitate the concept such as iHome. Unless the conceptual virtual screen technology is turned into the production stage, the mobile device will definitely play the key role in those scenarios.