The definition of “work” on a computer is changing and adapting to what devices people are buying. And if you want to get a glimpse of the paradigm shift, just keep an eye on the apps.

Mobile devices have outsold traditional desktop and laptop computers continuously for nearly four years at this point. And they show no signs of slowing even as the PC market has — at best — been treading water for much of that period.

The apps available today aren’t just one step ahead of what you could run on a phone or tablet eight years ago; they’re magnitudes more powerful, useful and entertaining. Early apps were basic and rudimentary compared to what you’ll find today on mobile devices: Just look at Microsoft’s Office apps, some of the high-end gaming titles available and even code editors.

Effectively, the mobile market has been able to provide users with the tools they need for work and play. And in some cases, work itself is adjusting for the mobile platforms because at first, the new platforms aren’t considered useful for work.

Evans notes several examples including a mobile CAD program and cloud-based video collaboration tool, saying “So, each new computing platform will never be used for real work, but the platform gets better and the work changes to fit the new platform.”


With things like Microsoft’s Continuum might help things along. My job certainly wouldn’t be possible on a pure phone or tablet. I need multiple displays and multiple windows with different data from different applications. If I could plug my phone into 2 or 3 external monitors and have access to development tools, then I might be able to switch to a more mobile environmnet.

The same goes for a lot of jobs. We write software for the food industry, we have been supplying touch PCs for nearly 15 years, in stainless steel casing to meet the hygene requirements. You can replace that with a tablet, the device is fitted in a permanent position anyway, the users usually have both hands full and I’m sure an iPad wouldn’t stand up to be used with the point of a knife or being washed down by a high pressure jet at the end of the day.

Some jobs benefit from mobile technology, a lot don’t. I think they both have a place and both will stick around for a long time to come.

I can see the “mobile” part becoming more powerful and maybe you carry around a “puck”, which you plug into the screen(s) and input devices you need, depending on what you are doing.

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