Transiting Personal Computing To Mobile

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PersonalComputing-Mobile

I was asked a question about mobile in Africa by PhoneBoy on Twitter the other day, “Way more mobile phones than computers in Africa, no?

My response: “Way more. Computing is predominantly mobile here.”

In other words, mobile is the first and only computer many Africans have ever owned or used. I know this is not true in Victoria Island, Abuja, Pretoria and business centres of our cities in general. But move outside of those cities, and voila, it is mobile and nothing else for the most part.

PhoneBoy’s response was a clincher: “Funny even with computers all around me, I do most of my personal computing on my mobile.”

That rang a bell with me. I have PCs around me both at home and at the office, yet most of my personal computing is done on mobile too. The point is that mobile has advanced to the point where it is so compelling that even when there is access to Desktop and notebook/netbook PCs, the natural inclination is likely mobile.

I recently decided on an experiment: get rid of my PCs and attempt to do all my personal computing on mobile (smartphone and tablet). I am convinced that I can get away with it. A few people have expressed reservations about it though.

But you know me, I dare things that most others won’t attempt. Remember how I ran a webhosting business on a Nokia 9500 Communicator ALONE some years back? Today’s tablets are even more capable than that. So, why not?

Wish me luck!

PS: You should follow PhoneBoy on twitter. He has rich experience and insights in mobile.

20 comments

  1. Wish me luck!

    We all can do with some dose of luck.

    On this issue, i am fairly sure it can be done. After all lots of tablets / smartphones are more powerful than a myriad of full_scale laptops.

    I once asked, ‘do you really need a tablet ‘ ( http://is.gd/rNnBxc ) . I can now answer, ‘yes – you do -if you are replacing your laptop / netbook with it.

    Most everyday tasks can be easily accomplished on the smartphone / tablet.combination.

    We are still left with multiple devices. So much for digital convergence!

  2. Pc still remains the ultimate for me… Usb charging, gaming, loads of software (eg virtual dj, video converter…) multiple usb port, changeable ram, removable hard drive, comfortable keyboard, wit loads of cool shortcuts… Mehn i don’t think mobile is going to replace/substitue pc in d near future* 😀

  3. I also do most of my computing on my phone. I plan to get a tablet (or a Samsung Note, then i can have a mobile phone/Tablet in one package) soon as my 15.6′ Toshiba is mean on my shoulder. My laptop is left for typing out documents, designing and seriously techy stuffs (like movies-lol)

  4. Since making the transition from pc to laptop to phone, some things I don’t miss. I don’t miss the wires. I do miss the comfort of the keyboard and bigger screen; being able to watch the odd YouTube video; more memory.

    I have disovered useful apps, for example for word processing, Last year I proof-read and edited an entire thesis on my phone…and yes, I felt very accomplished.

  5. While it is true that mobiles are extremely capable these days, if electricity was more reliable I’d be using my laptop a lot more for my computing needs. As it is, I spend too much time worrying about battery life…

  6. Hey, i wonder why we allow outside forces to influence our decisions… Hp 630 laptop cost 80-85k, can someone whisper hw much a samsung galaxy note costs? Lol, lets cool down and use tongue 2 count our teeth. Well we are entitled 2 our opinions, but for me, a nice simbi phone and a cool mac should do. Can never substitute a (touch) phone or tablet for a real pc…

  7. motorola c113,

    Hp 630 laptop cost 80-85k, can someone whisper hw much a samsung galaxy note costs? Lol, lets cool down and use tongue 2 count our teeth. Well we are entitled 2 our opinions, but for me, a nice simbi phone and a cool mac should do.

    Why a Galaxy Note? You picked an odd, unconventional device to push your point with. In my article, I spoke of tablets. Personally, I would take a Galaxy Tab. So, let’s look at the figures:

    A Galaxy Tab costs N75-95k, depending on which model you pick. Not bad compared to the 80-85k HP, and with longer battery life than the HP too, an important factor here among other benefits. Now, how much does a Mac cost again, anyone?

    The irony.motorola c113,

  8. once we can have a full Microsoft office running application on a tablet, the laptop is gone. with the likes of the ASUS transformer prime, why would I need the laptop again?

  9. Well for me, whereas I use my phone more than my laptop, I’m certain there some computing tasks that I can not do comfortably or even start at all on a phone except I mean to play. Is there any app in the Android market or Apple AppStore that can truly replace AutoCAD?
    Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files open on phone but it is very awkward keying in data from the phone and that small screen is another issue.

    Sure it can be done but it is not comfortable at all. Personally, I will always have a laptop or desktop computer around for real production purposes, but for consumption, mobiles will do most of the time.

  10. Incredibly laudable and timely article. The very Steve Jobs when he launched iOS 5 proclaimed that we are now at the post-PC ERA. I tend to believe this because it becomes very evident even now. Most if not majority of the task we used to do with a PC can now be done conveniently with a Tablet or Smartphone. Many people would inadvertently prefer to do same task on a mobile device than a PC if there was a credible need. Like checking and replying emails for instance. Checking Facebook or using twitter. Like Blogging, browsing etc to mention a few. Even taking notes, editing Media inclusive of videos and pictures! These could be conveniently done with mobile these days.

    Sometimes, for complex document formatting, Autocad and a few other intensive operation, I find myself going to a PC (laptop or Desktop). However thsse times are now few! Seldom.

    The obvious advantage of mobile over PC cannot be overemphasised. It includes Always-Connected, mobility, Allways-On, Longer battery life, More Resilience, Push Email and a host of others.

    Truly, we are in a Post-PC World! Or soon. I’m not surprised that Mr. Mobility wants to experiment by embracing doing all his computing needs from mobile. Not long ago in the not-too-distance past, he pioneered running his Office from a Communicator; Needless to say he was successful at that.

    Myself, at least 96% of my computing needs are done on my Tablet. I can view/unzip Zip files, read documents in PDF, WORD, CBR, CBZ, and in countless other formats and edit too right from my tablet! In fact I learnt a way recently of even downloading torrents from my iPad!

    Yes, we are really at the POST-PC world or at the very verge of it, to say the least!

  11. @ Belushi – does it have to be Microsoft Office? Programmes like Documents to Go or QuickOffice do pretty much the same thing and are compatible with Microsoft Office. You can produce a document and email it from your device just as you can from a pc.

    @ Harry Echemco, I agree some things are easier to do with a bigger screen that’s why I can see tablets being a viable alternative.

  12. [blockquote]The point is that mobile has advanced to the point where it is so compelling that even when there is access to Desktop and notebook/netbook PCs, the natural inclination is likely mobile.[/blockquote]

    Not true at all. That’s like saying most people at their homes would rather give up the comfort of their big flat screen TVs to watch EPL games via DSTV mobile. Hell no!

  13. understanding the writers perspective and the context of which a topic is written is key to positive contribution.

    Mobile is the natural flow,even on this site we fight more on which mobile Os is the best than if IOs is beating Microsoft at the desktop/laptop platform.

    our fingers are quick to pick the mobile gadget than reluctantly open,on and wait for the laptop to come on as i did now!

    Personally i do 90% my computing on my 3.8inch mobile device.

  14. @Noni
    I am yet to see an application that has the full functionality of Microsoft office. Apart from not having equivalent of MS Access, the spreadsheets do not support as much functions as excel. A lot of spreadsheets containing formulae that I produced on PC cannot be used on quick office, smart office or Documents ToGo, because the formats are not supported. For example, The simple function “TODAY()” is not yet available in some of them, and it does not update automatically in the one that has it (Quick office on Symbian).

  15. The simple function “TODAY()” is not yet available in some of them, and it does not update automatically in the one that has it (Quick office on Symbian)

    i just tried That ‘today’ function in Office Suite and QuickOffice for Symbian. They both have the right result.

    Note that, wheraas there is some flexibility as to how you enter spreadsheet functions on the PC version, the mobile ones are restricted. I entered =today() in quickoffice and Office suite. Worked.

    Entering @today() does not. Wherever u use @ in front of your function on PC, change to ‘=’

    There is no doubt, though that – while some arcane spreadsheet functions may not be supported, common ones like .’today’ definitely ARE..

    As to some functions not updating, are you sure u have auto-recalculate’ ENABLED?

    Symbian 60 5th..
    QuickOffice 6.275
    Office Suite 5.4

  16. @eye.be.Kay.
    I have auto re-calculate enabled on my phone (N8). I did not say it does not give the right result.
    Save that document you created and reopen it in a day our two and see if you’ll get the right result, if you do, then it is phone dependent (however same thing happens in both my E51 and N8: I have to manually choose re-calculate.
    Better still, fast forward the date on your phone and then reopen the document.

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