Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'm approaching a technological platform dilemma

Microsoft, Google, and Apple are the new "Big Three" and each offers their own flavor of the consumer multimedia experience. Personally I use Windows at work and for heavy-duty computing at home (graphic design, audio production). I also have an Android tablet and phone. 

The trouble is that I like a unified experience. I don't like having Widget X to do Task A, and Widget Y to do Task B. Seamless availability of content across hardware form factors is a big selling point for me - and clearly for consumers. Apple did very well on this level for many years with very good integration of home computer, mp3 player, phone, tablet, etc. They were the only show in town that really nailed those. 

Moving forward, Android and Windows are at a point to meet or beat that. Windows has been well-entrenched as a home and business computing power for decades. Now they're breaking in with Windows Phone 8 and the Surface tablet. Android has had the smartphone and tablet (the latter becoming increasingly impressive with the Nexus 7), and has dabbled in home computing with netbooks - though those clearly aren't in the same league as a workstation.

For me, buying anything Apple is clearly out of the question. I already have two different platforms I use, I don't need a third - and they will never be compatible with stuff for my job. Then it comes down to Android and Windows. Do I keep things disjoint, or do I try to go all in? This wouldn't even have been a question if not for the Surface tablet to be honest, which I think gives Microsoft an edge in cross-platform architecture. For that matter, I'm fairly certain my next tablet will be the Surface. It seems like the only option out there that isn't just made for viewing content but creating it. I like that - I'm a creative guy.

So then if I have Windows at work, Windows home workstation, Windows tablet... do I stick with an Android phone? I love a lot of the services Google offers (Gmail, Maps, Music) and I like Android as a mobile platform... but what I need to determine is if there's an advantage in unifying the whole experience.

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