Microsoft, Apple, RIM, and HP are each companies with a stake in mobile devices, and whose business’s expand beyond it. We’ll see though that in the next few years each company’s overall strategies are going to be driven by mobile more than anything else – more than social, more than cloud. Their mobile strategies are going to play a bigger role than ever in driving their overall strategies.
The future of these companies depend on having a stake in mobile computing to the extent that they have a channel to reach consumers and and communicate to them what their company’s unique value proposition is in mobile. They don’t need to be market leaders, but I think each at least needs a spot in the market where they can be recognized for doing something unique, and something valuable. That unique value proposition, and the work involved in learning, in development, and design will need to extend beyond the phone or tablet it was originally designed for, because that more than anything else will be what differentiates them and their ecosystem of products from their competitors.
These four, and the many other consumer technology companies will be left out in the cold unless they go through the learning required for playing in the mobile game.
There aren’t any lessons to be learned from desktop computing or desktop office working that will provide insights into user needs, and if they are they won’t be applicable across platforms like insights from mobile are. It’s going to be about finding insights through people’s work/life balance, how they live, and how they work (more socially, more mobile) that will influence software design.
A smartphone isn’t just another computer. It’s the key to understanding user needs and behaviours that isn’t possible any other way. Mobile computing is what will be the primary driver for consumer computing in all its forms for the next decade.