Guest post by Gil Bouhnick
Looking back two to three years ago, the mobile market seemed like an impossible jungle — there were 5 solid/promising mobile operating systems enterprise companies had to consider: Windows Mobile was still relevant in many industries, BlackBerry was dominating the business world, iOS started penetrating the enterprise, Android already was a huge promise, webOS was created (and later switched hands from Palm to HP), and Microsoft introduced the intriguing Windows Phone 7.
Back then, the term device agnostic became very popular. Companies looked for ways to build a long term mobile strategy that will deliver immediate value and potentially survive the frequent changes. Software companies caught on and used different methods to become device agnostic: from developing their applications multiple times to using cross platform technologies such as HTML5.
But this fragmentation in the mobile space has now stopped. Palm and its beautiful webOS are no more, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry became (mostly) irrelevant, and Windows Phone is yet to make a serious impact. From the most fragmented world, we are now left with two main players: Apples iOS and Google’s Android.
And so the term device agnostic in its traditional mobile meaning, is slowly becoming irrelevant as it becomes more and more essential. What’s happening is that new trends are reshaping our entire world, therefore expanding the notion of device agnostic far beyond just mobility.
We are now entering an era in which all personal and corporate computers will evolve from fixed, static machines into portable, modular, hybrid devices, designed to work in various environments: from sitting at the desk to working on the move. In other words, when EVERYTHING becomes mobile and portable, saying device agnostic will be as irrelevant as saying that ‘candy is sweet.’
With the announcement of the Microsoft Surface (a tablet that turns into a powerful notebook) and the upcoming Windows 8, Microsoft is officially approving (or should I say: joining) the next generation of personal computers: portable, touch-friendly, mobile-friendly, hybrids. Windows 8 will also support a “classic” mode to provide a mixture of capabilities: from productivity tools to entertainment, from reading in the sofa to working in the office. This is where the world is going, along with webtops, lapdocks, and other hybrid devices, and to properly support this new world in terms of software – enterprise companies have to adopt true device agnostic technologies: not just apps that can run on different smartphones, but ones that can run on any environment, anytime, anywhere, and on different form factors and screen sizes.
This is the future – everything is device agnostic, everything is web and everything is mobile.
Gil Bouhnick is Director of Mobility at ClickSoftware