The New York Times Blog has posted a highly interesting piece on the future of personal computing as we know it. As of right now, there have been 3 major operating systems begging for your attention; those being Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and the various distributions of Linux. Each have their place and at least a piece of the market share but as the New York Times pointed out, for how much longer are these traditional user interfaces going to last?
Google has already planted a very large foot in the door with their Android operating system which will soon be releasing for Netbooks and other devices that are not just mobile phones. The iPhone OS will be seen on the new iPad coming next month and I’m thinking we will hear about even more devices getting these slimmed down operating systems. While the choice to bring an existing, familiar OS to the iPad was smart, I can’t help but find it a bit restricting.
Bringing the iPhone OS over to a new platform did not change the positives and negatives about the platform. Positive points being that there are already hundreds upon thousands of applications readily available for download upon the launch of the device. The negative side being the app store itself being the sole provider of the applications. If this turns out to be the way of the future in the way computing is done, I could see an open platform such as Android dominating much more than a closed OS such as the iPhone.
While I do agree that more user friendly experiences will come to the home computer at some point, I can’t help but see a different light in the way certain aspects of the OS are handled. For instance, I enjoy using Google Voice as my main voicemail provider on my cell phone. On the Android, a convenient application exists that allows me to access and listen to that voicemail easily and efficiently. On the iPhone, such an application does not exist because of Apple’s censorship policies. Essentially, I believe that the rules of the game would have to be dramatically changed before the current PC user interfaces can be overhauled to match the mobile world.