A lot of people are thinking about the future this time of year. I’ve got a few ideas myself. This is the year I’ve done a lot with apps on phones and tablets. I’ve been playing with both an iPad mini and a Windows 8 tablet and of course have had my Windows Phone for almost two years now. These activities have given me some insights into what the future of mobile devices might be.
Clearly phones and small tablets are going to be huge – even bigger than they are now. I’m not convinced that the time of the PC is dead though. It took a long time for mainframes to die and even now there are still some around. The Cloud is the natural successor to the mainframe it is what makes mobile devices worth carrying. That is only going to be more true as time goes on.
I’m not impressed with most apps I see these days. Oh the games are great and the social aspect of them facilitated by the Cloud is pretty cool. The practical apps are still pretty limited. I think that will change but it seems to be taking a while. For the most part portable apps are about viewing date/information/content. Someone has to do some work on making input (communicating with the app) easier. Keyboards, software or otherwise, are limited especially for people like me with large fat fingers. Voice is getting there (think Seri) and may be part of the answer. Voice recognition has to get better. I listened tonight as Seri struggled to understand my son talk to it last night.
PCs are still going to have a place for serious applications that require people to interact with the computer in ways that require adding information. They may not stay as ubiquitous as they are today but they are not going away. People still need them to create.
But either way – mobile or PC – the real value is going to be added by people who can create apps. There simple problems have been solved but there are a great many solutions waiting to be thought of and created. These apps are going to be created by imaginative people who can write code.
It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. Are we preparing students to create the future? We’d better be teaching them to code if we want them to create the future.