Taking my desktop everywhere? You can take it.
First, thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on my last post. I really wasn't sure how it would go over. Thanks for embracing the human side too. I took the long weekend to relax in the snow. Im back now, caught up on my work, and really contemplating this article.
Toshiba's Mobile Phone Works All Windows PC Functions From Afar
... Why? I understand that it would be *cool* to have all your data in your palm with your mobile, but Im really struggling if it makes any sense.
Here is what the article says about the interaction and design issues:
But making a cell phone work like a keyboard and cursor mouse, and scrutinizing images for computer screens on a tiny display can be quite a challenge. You need to do a lot of button-punching and scrolling...
Mitsunobu Aoyama, a Toshiba official in charge of developing Ubiquitous Viewer, said clearer mobile phone displays and the proliferation of third-generation, or 3G, mobile services in Japan are helping make the software a smart option.
So that's it, clearer displays and 3G networks, that's going to solve all the problems? At least The Feature recognizes bigger problems in their review
There are some obvious challenges. Mobile phones and desktop machines have extremely different form factors. While Toshiba tries to compensate for this by creating a virtual keyboard and mouse to work with the desktop access, it's clearly not optimal. Advancement's like F-Origin's ability to tilt and scroll using a mobile phone could also make the screen size question less of a challenge -- but still something of a limiting factor.
There are, however, much bigger questions about this offering. The whole idea is based on the belief that the desktop is still the center of a user's world, and that access to that desktop machine is going to be the most important thing. While that is true in some cases, it's rapidly changing for many users. More and more content, applications and services are all on servers, rather than back at a desktop machine somewhere. Furthermore, if you are going to access content and applications via mobile phone, wouldn't it make sense not to simply recreate the desktop, but to better optimize for the entire mobile environment?
...It shouldn't matter if the content is on a server, a desktop, a portable hard drive or a mobile device. The offering should fit what the user wants right then, and simply assuming that the desktop interface is king is the wrong way to go about things. It's solving a problem from the past, and not keeping up with the ways in which people are accessing data, applications and services today and in the future.
Yay, other people are finally starting to get it, too! But, I'm still trying to think of situations where this would actually be useful and how it could work. The access model I understand. The use case they point out as being able to send files via email. Ok, I buy it. Streaming music, I get that one too. But that is still just pulling the files down. I'm trying to think of something where it would make sense to want to interact with your files. Something were when I have 5 minutes, I could actually do something useful. Maybe I can send a text with the name of the file and have it return it to me in a readable form already. Or perhaps when my colleague has finished the ppt., I get alerted and am able to view it and edit it immediately. I'm looking for something that isn't just browsing for a file and downloading it. These types of ideas, however, fail to put the desktop at the center, they have a server at the center... and more importantly they have have a network (of people too) in the center. Maybe my colleagues file is stored on his computer, the server, and my phone. How do all of those to talk? How do they all update at the same time? How do I get notified when his copy on his desktop is altered?
So maybe if we can stop thinking of the phone as a "remote desktop" or a "remote control" into our other devices and actually think about interacting with the files, using the network power and collaborative nature of the device to drive the design, then maybe it does make sense to have access to all my files. But, if it's just me being able to attach the files to my email... you can take it, I probably won't wait for my files to download, Ill just plug in my flash drive to my phone and attach them that way.