While I write and speak only about wireless and mobility as it pertains to the benefits these technologies can deliver to the enterprise, I must admit to being a geek who enjoys reading up on a wide array of technologies. As such, I read many of the popular tech sites and regular follow the articles of the key columnists. John C. Dvorak over at PC Magazine is one of my favorite columnists...he usually has some pretty insightful things to share, with the occasional sprinkle of a comment to stir the pot. Well, he certainly succeeded at stirring the pot with me on this recent article "The iPhone Is No Desktop."
What bothered me the most I think about his article was how flippint and dismissive he was regarding mobility. Dvorak quickly listed 10 reasons why the desktop is the best platform for computing (actually, nine because he listed "harder to steal" twice). He then goes on to say:
I suppose I could add another half dozen reasons, but you get the point. (Did I mention that it's harder to steal?) What's the rationale for using the laptop as the desktop replacement?
That's it. And it's essentially the same reason that someone might use the iPhone as the be-all and end-all of platforms, and why people look to it as a desktop replacement. Ridiculous.
OK, Mr. Dvorak, I'll take the bait. But I'm actually surprised at how dismissive you are of the ONE benefit you were able to find from mobile computing. The portability creates not only convenience (have you actually tried Office Mobile), but also the ability to enhance customer service through reduced wait times (I'm thinking mobile field service and other location based services), better service (mobile CRM), faster communication (Crackberry anyone). What about patient safety (portable order entry)? I could go on and on regarding how this one benefit will trump most of the (valid) challenges you brought up.
While I agree that mobile devices are not a desktop replacement, I have three things to say there:
- Do they need to?
- Have you tried the REDFLY?