The interest in turning the mobile into an even more versatile product is obvious, and here we have the efforts of Canonical with Ubuntu and Microsoft with its Lumia 950 and 950 XL. Those products taught us that a mobile can try to become a desktop, but those developments demonstrated not be fully mature.
Now there are new and promising projects in this regard, and between them stands the recently discovered “Samsung Desktop Experience”, a development that will be available on the Samsung Galaxy S8. If we join the leaks appearing on the project Andromeda Google and that emulation of applications Win32 in ARM by Microsoft, the thing gets very, very interesting.
Continuum and Ubuntu failed to convince the first
The search for convergence takes time, and many believe that it is a logical step in that evolution of the mobile as the central device of our lives. It is true that it will take time to do everything we do with a laptop or a desktop, but smartphones already have enough to meet light work sessions gallons.
It is what Ubuntu Touch as demonstrated both the Lumia 950 / XL with Windows 10. The problems of both projects were in their immaturity tackling over traditional desktop to mobile desktop.
The adaptation was limited, both in performance and in the catalog of available applications, and in both cases, the user experience was much room for improvement. In the case of Ubuntu, for example, the usage paradigm was debatable by that extensive use of Scopes that did not provide a differential improvement.
In Windows 10 in the Lumia, the capacity of Continuum was limited to a few universal applications. Both allow us to glimpse the future in which the mobile could behave like a PC, but they were almost “prototypes” of what many dreamed to find in this convergence.
New Year, new convergence
The thing could change this year. After a 2016 in which there has been little clear movement in this direction, facing a 2017 in which they could get many developments in this field.
Suddenly it seems that interest in turning the smartphone into a desktop PC becomes a protagonist among manufacturers, which could raise it as a vital asset of their mobile strategies. We have, as we said at the beginning of the article, several open fronts and last minute surprises …
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Microsoft: The Redmond Company seemed to have almost completely abandoned the development of mobile devices, but suddenly jumped the news: a new company project raises running Windows “legacy” applications on the ARM platform thanks to emulation. That could make Microsoft went back to that hypothetical Surface Phone which much has been said and it would be a Lumia 950 XL super vitamin no longer in hardware, but especially in software. Microsoft may not have the lost battle after all.
Google: The Company had not been too clear steps in this direction, but the introduction last year of Remix OS made it clear that this could be the future of Android. Although the company has not discussed the matter, it was discovered the existence of Andromeda, a project that some have already renamed “Pixel OS” and that would be the fusion of Chrome OS and Android. The idea, of course, would be to combine the strengths of both platforms to offer a version of Android especially oriented to productivity. This fall could get the first devices, which apparently will be convertible tablets first and then adapt this system smartphones.
Samsung: The Galaxy S8 promises to be a particularly striking product, but among its features will not be a part of your proposed design or hardware specifications, but an option in their software. The freshly filtered “Samsung Desktop Experience” could take some of the functions of the mobile to a desktop computer without cradles or docks for connection, as was the Lumia 950 XL. Here Samsung has it harder as it does not depend on itself (the OS that governs most of its devices is Android) so it will be interesting to see how this system works and how far it can go.
Apple: Curiously, the company led by Tim Cook seems to be too interested in this area, although it is true that their iPad Pro has proven to be the logical evolution of their tablets. These products are governed by an increasingly ambitious iOS in the area of productivity, but options like Continuity or Handoff have not seen much improvement since they appeared for iOS and macOS to communicate more and better. Apple’s strategy is a mystery and does not seem to pose the smartphone as another convertible, but here are all unknowns. That’s right: macOS lost relevance, and it seems that the future is entirely iOS.
Ubuntu: The operating system Canonical has also not offered new striking in recent times, but there is something that could help that adaptation of the operating system to the mobile environment: Mir, the graphical server operating system is already very mature in its development, and could be one of the bases of a much more versatile performance. Unity 8, which is based on Mir, is already optional in Ubunt 16.10, and in 2017, we will see it become even more relevant and perhaps finally prove that Canonical vision was the one we all hoped for.
Many proposals, many different ways, and a possible final achievement: to give the smartphone even more important with that option also use it as a center of our environment productivity.
Importantly, this experience will remain limited in many respects, but may in many areas a smartphone more than ever everything the user needs.