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Description: These days much of the action in the world of gadgets is happening in smartphones — like their sophisticated design and the apps that run on them. That has left desktop and laptop computers looking a little dull in comparison.

Source: nytimes .com

Date: Feb 29, 2012

So computers are suddenly getting more phonelike.

Microsoft and Apple are leading the charge in this area. On Wednesday, Microsoft took the wraps off its latest operating system for computers and tablets, Windows 8, which mimics the look and feel of the company’s new software for phones. And Apple recently offered a preview of its next operating system for Macs, incorporating familiar elements from the iPhone and iPad.

“All of the major innovation for PCs is coming from the mobile phone,” said Tim Coulling, an analyst at the research firm Canalys.

The companies hope this strategy will give them added leverage in the market for tablets and smartphones, which is growing to rival the market for personal computers. And it could also help them sell more computers or, in Microsoft’s case, software for computers.  Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why are computers suddenly getting more phone like.
  1. Who do think will win this battle of the new operating systems?  Why? Or Why not?

22 Responses to “Smartphones Have Led, and Desktops Will Follow”

  1. CAP

    Just like is says in the article, much of the action in the world of gadgets is happening in smartphones — like their sophisticated design and the apps that run on them. Many people like to be on the go and not have to sit down on a desk to be able to access the internet. This is one of the reasons why smartphones are a hit. For me, I like being able to just leave my house and if I need to do something on the internet, such as online banking when I am out and about, I can just do it straight on my phone. I do not need to worry about being at home or work to be able to access the internet. Smartphones just make it more convenient for me to do whatever I need on the internet. Accessing the internet is not the only reason why smartphones are useful. People can also do other things such as writing notes or using apps that can help a person find information that they need. Having to use an laptop or a desktop can be more of an inconvenience if someone wants information right away. This is definitely a competitive advantage that companies can have if they sell smartphones.

  2. Jillian

    Computers are becoming more like phones, because phones have become more popular than computers and have gained more market share. While there has been a booming technological advance in recent year for the smart phones, computers have somewhat stayed idle. Smart phones offer new sleek designs and app stores where you can download thousands of apps. Recent innovations in computers have been to change the design and use to mimic that of smart phones; as a result, computers and software will begin to pick up more of the market share and profits.
    Company’s such as Apple and Microsoft have to balance their innovation of technology while balancing those users who are used to their old looks, programs and systems. Microsoft has incorporated this aspect by giving users the option to change to their new interface or remain with the traditional look.
    I think Apple will win the battle of the new operating system. Microsoft has been publicly known or more popular than Apple since just recent. Microsoft tends to remain traditional and base their new innovations on updating old software. Apple on the other hand has been innovative by creating new ideas and having a fresh outlook on technology. Currently, Apple has more market share than Microsoft; I can’t see this changing. It seems as though Microsoft has their loyal customers; however, in regards to innovation and new ideas they remain by playing a game of catch up.

  3. Logan Woo

    Smart phones and phones in general are the most accessible things on the planet; just about every person in North America owns a cell phone or smart phone. Similar to the ford example where the car are incorporating phone functions in order to entice buyers desktop computer must do the same in order to survive. As we have learnt throughout class in order for a large corporation to survive they must diversify. Corporations want to incorporate the smart phone idea into their product because the smart phone for any individual is the tool they use to access the internet or chat with friends or family. It is the way we connect and is a fantastic innovation. I believe that Microsoft will win the operating system battle, for years I have been a windows user because I am comfortable with the price of the computer and I enjoy the easy self navigation OS. Windows is going to win this battle or at least outlast their competitors due their vast number of customer loyal fans and immense numbers of windows users, which at least has to double the users of Mac users for now. In the last couple of years I have had the pleasure of goofing around and working with Mac’s . Although I enjoyed the feel and artistic value of the Operating system I found some of the program to be too confusing and required a lot of effort to switch back and forth between windows, not to mention the completely outrageous price for these computers.

  4. carlos

    Smartphones are fast becoming more commonly used than laptops and desktops. Unlike the conventional computer a person’s smartphone is not more than an arm’s length away at any point in the day. This means that people are becoming more used to using the operating system on their phone than on their computer at home. So why not make the consumer feel comfortable with both? This is what mac and windows are now realizing, customizing their computer operating system with that of the smartphone. Mac currently with the most popular smartphone is realizing that if consumers like the operating system on their phone and the desktops/laptops have the same operating system. Then the consumer will most likely buy an Apple computer with the same software as their phone, rather than switching over to windows and learning a completely different operating system. If windows doesn’t create something spectacular I think Apple will prevail in the battle of the operating systems. Currently Apple just seems to have a superior operating system. To reinforce that Apple is superior they have managed to keep their margins much higher than that of Windows while still at times having more demand than supply, leading to record profits for Apple.

  5. Jon

    I do not have a problem with Homeland Security’s current actions, but am aware that they have the potential to misuse this power.
    The thing about social media websites is that somebody who posts what they had for breakfast is not writing it with the intent to be private. In fact, they are most likely doing it for the opposite reasons (to get attention). I think a person who has concerns about privacy, doesn’t, or shouldn’t have a twitter or facebook account. If they do, then they should alter the privacy settings to the max, not reveal any personal information, and ensure that all posts are secret. As soon a someone posts a message on another’s wall, or sends out a tweet with a “#,” this information is open-source and is fair game. It is, in my opinion, a submission of personal privacy and it doesn’t matter who reads it. With the facebook post, you are giving permission for that friend to see your message. With that, all of his or her friends can now see that message. This could be a 200, 300, 1000 people. Friends of friends might be able to see it. The number quickly escalates. This is the risk you take. These social media accounts are ways to broadcast opinions, facts, information, etc. I think trying to “selectively broadcast” is a notion that interferes with its purpose. Encypted email might be a better option to consider, if privacy is your concern.
    I do have a problem if, as Lizzy (the reporter) alluded to, that the government has access to private information (as in, that not intended for public viewing). This would include personal messages (facebook) or direct messages (twitter). She said that they are “not supposed to” and I hope that they choose to respect this mandate.

  6. BK

    Computers are getting to be more phone-like simply because computers are now an “old” technology. I remember around 10 or so years ago, I was in Waterton with my family. We were in the visitors information system, and I remember there was a computer-like screen that had information about all the different kind of hikes. At the time, I was more interested in the fact that it was a touch-screen, than the information on the hikes themselves. This idea of mobile devices operating with new technology, and being able to do whatever a computer can do (if not more) is the only reason why computers could become extinct. Because of this, companies are trying to give computers the same style and “cool” new technology that phones have. I do not know who will win the battle of the new operating system. I only know that the consumer is not going to win. We will all eventually, and whether we like it or not, end up spending countless dollars per year to have a new gadget, and sooner than later, smart phones too will become a thing of the past.

  7. Jarrett

    Computers are getting more phone like because smart phones are outselling computers by millions. Approximately 1 billion people have a cell phone, and approximately 25% or 250,000,000 are smartphones. That is a huge target market compared to the smaller market of PC owners. Also, smartphones allow users on the go, to do tasks that otherwise would have to be done on a PC at a desk. This advanced accessibility allows for consumers to be able to do things at all times, in all places. Therefore, consumers are demanding more from all sources of technology, and more integration from these sources. I feel like Apple is leading the way with their IOS and their Mac OSX’s. With Lion which came out last year, there was already a huge amount of integration between their I-devices and the Mac. Now, with Mountain Lion coming out, their are adding more features, and easier integration. This continued practice of being first to market, and having a very advanced operating system will allow them to stay on top in the categories that they dominate. However, I feel that if Windows 8 is as good as some people speculate, and has the integration possibilities that Apple has, then Apple could lose a large source of their business cliental. Overall though, Apple will continue to grow, and Windows 8 had better be as good as they say, or they will lose a very large marketshare that they once commanded.

  8. Rose

    Both smart phones and phones are the most great systems that people want to have access to. Any smart phones that can deliver value, time and cost will give people added advantage and at the same time invest their money into it. If people can easily access PC on the phone, that they do not have to drive far to get information they need on the PC at home, it worths it. Microsoft needs additional strategies, look for loop holes and maximize how they too can affect the society with smart phones. They should gathered more than enough information on how to make things happen on the phone. More applications that would enhance the users time. For example Apple is still the one take the competitive advantage and follow by Android. Microsoft have to be sensitive and and take the lead. As Flora said, “they have to carry people along instead of taken a huge break”. Whatsoever that Microsoft invented for example, PC applications, games, OS software etc. All these devices helps the Consumer oriented gadget to plan how to get one and possibly invite buyers into his or decision.

  9. Rose

    Both smart phones and phones are the most great systems that people want to have access to. Any smart phones that can deliver value, time and cost will give people added advantage and at the same time invest their money into it. If people can easily access PC on the phone, that they do not have to drive far to get information they need on the PC at home, worth it. Microsoft needs additional strategies, look for loop holes and maximize how they too can affect the society with smart phones. They should gathered more than enough information on how to make things happen on the phone. More applications that would enhance the users time. For example Apple is still the one take the competitive advantage and follow by Android. Microsoft have to be sensitive and and take the lead. As Flora said, “they have to carry people along instead of taken a huge break”. Whatsoever that Microsoft invented for example, PC applications, games, OS software etc. All these devices helps the Consumer oriented gadget to plan how to get one and possibly invite buyers into his or her decision.

  10. Morgan

    Computers are becoming more phone-like because fancy phones are the latest trend in the tech world. There is a huge demand for the newest, fastest phones and so companies are supplying them at an alarming rate. Consumers want their devices to tie seamlessly together and companies such as Apple and Microsoft recognize the potential profit in this area. So, it is not surprising that Macs and PCs are soon to follow in the phone’s footsteps.

    Apple’s iPhones are much more popular than the Windows phone (which only has 1.5% market share), as are their tablets (iPads have 64% market share). Apple consumers are generally very happy with their products and, from what I have observed, have high brand loyalty. Many people have iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macs, whereas the typical Windows users own Android phones and iPods – no brand loyalty there. Additionally, Microsoft has to basically start from the ground up with their computers, which will probably have plenty of bugs because it will feature a lot of brand new programs.

    Because of this, I believe the reign of the Windows computer is over. Apple has established themselves as a trendy, exciting company and has a plethora of loyal consumers.

  11. JX

    With increasing technology in the area of information system, many elements of computer are becoming smaller and lighter day by day. So Computers become easy to take like phone. In addition, more and more people can afford laptops. Furthermore, smart phone is so powerfully today. Lots of tasks can be run in smart phone like run on computer. If there is a same or almost same OS in area of phone and computer, that will be great for users. It is good for transmitting data between phone and computer, convenience for using and so forth. However, phone is harder to change than computers, so they spend more energy and time on changing computer system such as the changes of Windows 8. In my opinion, I think Microsoft will win in this battle. Windows already has a so big market share, and even lots of people who bought a MAC still setup Windows in their MACs. Windows has more applications than Mac. That would be a key point when user is choosing system. Microsoft has a successful game console system—Xbox. Apple does not enter this area. Microsoft can make more connections between windows phone, windows, and Xbox Live such as cloud save and online battle. It may attract more gamers to choose Microsoft OS.

  12. Ellie

    As the article said, much of the action in the world of gadgets is happening in Smartphone. In nowadays, the computers are becoming like Smartphone more and more. The reason of that is the phones are so popular in people’s lives, so most customer also hope to use these apps on the their own computers. Because of the demand, the computer companies began to add these apps on the computer. For example, there was a game called “ Angry Bird” so popular last year. Almost everyone who has the Smartphone download this app. The computer companies found this, and now people also can play “ Angry Bird” on the computer. In the other words, Smartphone are more and more popular in people’s daily lives, sometimes they are instead of the laptops and desktops. This means, people can use their Smartphone in the day and use their PC at home. We need to connect both of them together, it can make people feel more convince. In my opinion, the Apple Company will do better because the innovation of Apple is best right now. For the apps of the Smartphone, Apple Company is on the head of the other companies. Anyway, good completion for the different companies will bring more benefit for the customer.

  13. Garang

    our increasing fast paced lifestyle and rapid information needs partly explains why the computers are getting more phone like. nowadays, most people are getting busier and busier with no minute or even a fraction of a second to waste. people are demanding more drive through in fast foods restaurant, some would honk their horns for seconds lost in lane change attempts.much of the action in the world of gadgets is happening in smart phones in and attempt to keep pace with ever changing lifestyle. more people like the simplicity of finding information they need as quicker as possible. The world of smart phone is excelling in meeting this demands which sets off desktop demand. In addition, people like smart phones because of their portability and easier to use interface. I personally prefer using my smart phone doing what ever I need on the internet simply because it has everything under “one roof” i.e time, dialing, internet and all appliances.I do believe that in the long run, the Apple Company is in a better standing of winning the battle of the new operating system because their innovation is the best at the moment and with higher market share.Another reason that will subsequently account for their victory is that apple meets majority of consumers demands such as simplicity, security, and portability.

  14. Rasika

    I think the smartphones had set a benchmark for the computer technology. Cellular phone usage has spread wide and fast across the world. This popularity invited more software developers to add value to the mobile phones. Smartphone was one of the steps forward. The more features added to the smartphone, the more convenient it has got. Now people can explore almost anything they could get done from the computer through their smartphones. That means the smartphone can now fulfill requirements of a computer and a phone too. This has led the leading computer and software providers like Mac and Microsoft to emphasis more on creating more compatible operating systems and system software that can be used in computers, smartphones and tablets. In my opinion, I believe that Microsoft can do a better job on operating systems than any other company. That is because they are already way ahead in there developments, in terms of inventing more compatible and user friendly systems. For example, Microsoft operating system being able to run Adobe Flashplayer, makes it easier for the people to access the internet conveniently. On the other hand Apple has no agreement with Adobe and you cannot watch any movie uploaded to the internet using Flash through a Mac computer, laptop, Ipad or Ipod.

  15. Michael

    The smart phone industry is the new buzz industry and others will follow to try and cash in on some of the market. I personally like what these companies are doing it shows that they are wanting to progress and innovate where the consumer is demanding a product. This entire industry is based on computing power and as this advances our devices will continue to be more powerful and more efficient. Desktops mimicking the display of smartphones may not be they best as it may help transition between using only smartphones. However if this was to happen it would be a long ways off as many people and tasks cannot be completed on a smartphone, Such as typing up this post. I believe that eventually smartphones will be replacing computers in day to day uses. Even at work people are beginning to use smart phones more and more and desktops less and less. The fact that these companies are embracing this change is good but I am not sure it will be good for the bottom line come the long term. Microsoft also has a history of creating buggy products so it will be interesting to see how things pan out for them.

  16. dns

    Computers are getting more phone-like because of how convenient phone technology is to its consumers. With the evolving apps of smart phones, it makes me easier for someone to be out and about and still have all the technology of a computer device in the palm of their hand. Smart phones are widely popular and computer companies want to mimic the same convenience, technology and appeal that smart phones offer. It makes it easy for consumers to frequently check their e-mails through their phones so they don’t miss any important notices, and to transfer information or data from their phone to their home computers. I think that the Apple Company will have a better advantage over Microsoft because it has applications and technology that is exclusive for apple products only. Most consumers are intrigued by apple because it is has special applications not available to other computer companies making it more appealing. Also having the IPhone sync to the same operating systems as a Mac computer or Ipad makes it simpler for consumers to use this technology and make it easy to transfer and switch back and forth between devices. The Apple Company has sucessfully kept its position near or at the top of its industry because of its tactics to simplify its products and make it convenient for consumers to use. My little brothers and sisters are as young as four years old and can easily use an Apple Ipad. They have even taught me how to use different apps and how to access things for my Apple Products.

  17. knwe

    Computers are getting more phone like because people are spending more time on their mobile devices than computers than ever before. I think the primary reason operating system developers are spending their time and resources on making the operating systems more phone like is because consumers are trending towards a more integrated technology where they can use their smartphone, tablet, tv, and computer on a similar platform.

    I think Apple is currently in the lead with this so far, and they have a first mover advantage, but there is definitely opportunity for Microsoft to capture some of the market share, especially with the older generations who are still using Windows Operating systems. I think Apple will continue to dominate in the tablet and smartphone market for a while because of user options like the Apple Store, which is highly integrated across all user platforms. It will take a while for Google and Microsoft to match the offerings of the Apple Store, but they are emerging fast.

    Microsoft faces more barriers to entry than Apple, I think they will come out as a significant player in the integrated Operating System game eventually, especially due to the fact that they will offer their old operating system as an option on new hardware with the Windows 8 operating system. This makes it easier for the older generation who is resistant to change to still use Windows 8, and maybe the developers will include a soft version of a few of Windows 8’s best features.

  18. Tyler

    Computers are getting more smart phone like because the smart phone is starting to overtake the desktop as the number one use for people to connect to the internet and their daily computer needs. By making things more like smart phones it will become easier for people to transition between using smart phones and the desktop.
    As for the new operating systems I’ve been able to use the Windows 8 developer preview for the past few months so I’ve been able to get a first hand impression on how the operating system performs. While it has performed decently well for me I haven’t found it to be a big improvement from Windows 7 and in fact for some programs that run on the desktop it’s been a big disadvantage. Currently windows 8 is not optimized for full screen programs such as playing games. Currently in Windows if you click on the left side of the screen it will slide over to the home screen leaving the game which leaves the game automatically even if you didn’t want to. If small things like that can be fixed windows 8 has a very good chance of being a great operating system and beat out Apple since Windows has a much larger reach and consumer base.

  19. smartphone

    Well, first of all, I guess we should thank Apple for this one… If it wasn’t for the popularity of the Iphone, this situation would never have occurred. It seems to me that everyone and his dog nowadays is getting a smartphone. They are not a luxury item anymore, but more of a necessity. I work in this industry and trust me, people are drawn to these things. They may not have the internet or own a computer, but they all say the same thing. “What can this do? I’ve heard so much about it..” And Bam! they go home with a brand new phone. Which brings me to why computers are becoming more like phones. The majority of the population, say 70-80%, use computers for simple things; multimedia, internet surfing, writing documents, and to stay connected. Smartphones and tablets can do that, but computers and laptops still have more to offer at this time. Also, there is something VERY appealing about having the same brand and ease of use across all of our electronics. With the popularity of the smartphone and the familiarity of their use, naturally, people will be drawn to the same user interface on their computers. Seeing as the avg life of a smartphone is 2-3 yrs and the avg life of a computer is about double that, these companies realize that making software compatible across their products will attract more consumers. I hope nobody wins, the more competitive these companies are, the better our options become.

  20. John McAllister

    In the past 7 years the development of the smart phone has blown away anything previously used by the common person. With nearly everyone owning some sort of smart phone, whether it be Blackberry, iPhone, or some sort of android, the market is massive. A direct result of theses incredible gadgets is that people have become very demanding, wanting their information instantly. While having access to the web, contacts, games, and other very useful applications has made life easier, it has also made the use of computers somewhat obsolete. Microsoft still has a very specific neich in that most of the business world is run off of Windows. Mac on the other hand has targeted the market of user friendly artistic abilities. Both of these are reason enough for people to continue to buy computers but the more and more smart phones become useful, the less and less these computers and their OS’s will be in demand. As a result these technology companies are incorporating systems that allow computers to act like smart phones and even allowing them to sync together to allow ultimate user control.
    The battle of the new operating systems will be an interesting one to keep an eye on. Personally being a PC kind of person I am rooting for Microsoft to win but history tells me otherwise. The past OS released by Microsoft have followed a trend of good, bad, good, bad. Seeing as Windows Vista was junk while Windows 7 was a success, I can only assume that Windows 8 will have plenty of kinks to work out.

  21. Claudia

    I believe computers have started to mimic smart phones for numerous reasons. As smart phones have become more popular they have been forced to become more and more user friendly. In addition as we have been able to do more with our phones the desktop has become obsolete for things like online banking and sending emails. The implementation of touch screens meant that desktops needed to be more interactive with the user creating the demand for touch screen monitors.
    I think apple will ultimately lead the race as they incorporate all the user friendly aspects of their personal devices to the desktop systems. the apple monitors and all in one desktop computer have begun their advancement into the business world , and will continue to survive based on the fact that they are so user friendly even for a big desktop machine. This will continue to diversify the use of the desktop computer and it should be interesting to see how apple will evolve desktop computers and television.

  22. Josh

    Personally I do more on my iPhone than I do on my macbook. And yes I name dropped my products for a reason, which i will touch on in a few moments. The reason i use my phone more often, outside of the fact that its always no more than a foot away from my hand, is the fact that my phone has essentially become a computer. My iPhone can do almost everything i do already on the computer, and so the practicality of it being in my pocket and easy to access as opposed to taking my laptop out of my backpack( yes It has lead me to being that lazy) has made it become my primary tool of technology. Phones also are less intimidating than computers. It seems like even those most tech illiterate people can figure out how to use a smartphone and they are even more inclined to give a shot, where as with a legit computer those who has zero abilities with them are just at a standstill when faced with one and thus less likely to attempt learning on it. This cannot be illustrated better than increase in seniors purchasing items such as an iPad or when you see little children playing with their parents iPhones. These platforms are simple to learn on and utilize.

    Now getting back to why I name dropped all apple products. The article mentions the integration of these operating systems between phones and computers. Apple has done the best job I feel at doing so through their syncing processing and now with the cloud. The fact that i can take a photo with my phone or add a meeting to my calendar and it “magically” appears on my computer almost instantaneous is just all the more appeal to integrate the system and use the easier OS which people are already most familiar with- their phones!

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