When will the OS be device centric and applications device/time/setting centric aware ?

I work with all kinds of technology from desktops/laptops, mobile phones, tablets and servers. I work with different operating systems but mainly the following;
  • Microsoft Windows (desktops, laptops, netbooks and a few slides)
  • Google Andriod OS (phones, tablets and netbooks) 
  • Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad) and MacOS (desktop)
What all users wants is a good experience for doing the things they are doing at the moment with the device; for example creating a presentation, posting to a social network, taking a photo, editing a document, watching a movie or sending a message to a friend. They want to do these things as easy as possible but in a secure and intuitive way with no delays at the place they are currently at using personal and customized settings. Today it's nearly impossible to have a holistic user experience due to different challenges:
  • Applications are different on the platforms
  • Bandwidth limitations
  • Delay when doing many things simultaneously 
  • Platforms/applications are lacking privacy and/or security 
  • Battery capacity
  • Limited off-line support (no Internet or corporate connection)
Users of the future
Today all young people are used to Internet (and these people are coming to their professional work life).They are used to find services (often free of charge) to do the things they want and are also multitasking in a way we over 40 don't. To be able to serve these new users (and the current) we need technology in the Enterprise's that are very customization-able and devices that can multitask in a good way (i.e. run processes in the background). In near future we will have users used to touch everywhere (from slides, pads, screens, TV, media centers, meny at your local restaurant) that will create a need for intuitive user interfaces (UI design). This will also create a need for users to easily move/fetch data from devices and also to integrate data between devices (mobile payment to restaurant for example).

Operating systems of the future
I think (and dream) about a solution to this if the OS can be more device wide (i.e. same OS on different hardware and form factors; phone, tablet and computer), customization-able (multi user, work the way the user wants, access to the user data, bandwidth aware - offline cache if needed), context aware (work or at home, time of day, where are the user located) and privacy managable, secure and with "unlimited" power (i.e. a device that charges on the move and wireless).

It will also be important that these OS's will run the software/services that the users wants and will use in a good way and at the same time be secure, intuitive, quick/responsive and work off-line but also integrate with the cloud (both public and private ones).

Will any of the major OS vendors be able to deliver this dream and if so - how ?
  • Apple
    Is the leading player on the slides marked (iPad) and have revolutionized the smart phone (iPhone). They also have a full desktop OS with off-line functionality. What Apple is missing is a Enterprise deployment method for iOS for applications (i.e. "private applications"). They are also separating the iOS and MacOS - I think they need to try to have applications to run on both platforms. Maybe some feature to "run MacOS applications on iOS" (remote desktop feature) or similiar. Apple have good looking devices (that are costly) with nice hardware but some users require more choices in form factors.  
  • Google
    Do have a very good momentum with Andriod and will also have a desktop OS (ChromeOS). Are very dependent on cloud technology and aren't embracing off-line capabilities that are important in a Enterprise market. I think that Google needs to create better off-line support for their services. They have a good application delivery model and Enterprises can have own repositories of application distributions (which is very good). Needs better Enterprise applications to be able to compete with Apple and Microsoft. Google is very good at integrating the services they create but in some cases terminates good products which creates problems for people using them.
  • RIM
    Are loosing market share fast and do not have a a full range of devices. Can only win the slides/phone marked and will probably vanish from the market in a couple of years if they cannot stop the iOS/Android momentum. I think RIM must create services on the web (HTML5 support) to better serve users and maybe also create a flat rate service (one price for all users) to be able to compete with the others.
  • Microsoft
    Are late with a good slide (will not exist until 2012 with Windows 8) but have a full range of services for all platforms. I think they are doing it right when trying to have one set of installation that will install Windows 8 in different flavors (slide, computer, server, xbox, portable player) and maybe also do a WinPhone8. This will give the possibilities to run the same applications on all devices - and due to a local file system it will have good off-line capabilities. Microsoft are responding to the Enterprise's needs with a application repository (WinPhone and System Center portfolio). At a negative side Microsoft is responding late to the new need of devices and I hope they will respond quicker to the future needs.
Management of my fleet of technology
If the future will have a device/user centric approach to technology there will be a need for good management tools, identity management, security layers and a platform for a central repository of audting and operations monitoring. This creates a need for integration of backend system's that all major vendors are  working with (and will benefit everyone).

Final thoughts
I think that the future will be dominated by new/young users that will demand fantastic technology software/services on multiple devices with a holistic user inteface. I think that it will be a need for new services, software and innovative integrations that will force all vendors and niche companies to do creative solutions in the future. The biggest companies (Google, Apple and Microsoft) will compete in both Enterprise and consumer marked and that "private useage" (i.e. when using technology outside working context) will drive the innovation!

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