Some time in the next six months, the number of smartphones on earth will pass the number of PCs. […]
In truth, none of us have really internalised what change this means. The fact that Apple makes more money than Microsoft or that smartphones outsell PCs isn’t really the point. Rather, the entire internet is being changed fundamentally – both the size and the character of the internet are going to look quite different from what we have been used to. […]
A great many industries that came unscathed through the first wave of the internet – the desktop wave – are now facing disruption.
“Gartner recommends that our [BlackBerry enterprise] clients take no more than six months to consider and implement alternatives to BlackBerry,” said Gartner analyst Bill Menezes in an email interview on Friday. “We’re emphasizing that all clients should immediately ensure they have backup mobile data management plans and are at least testing alternative devices to BlackBerry.”
Engaget reports that the Microsoft Surface Pro requires 45 GB of disk space for the OS and pre-installed apps, leaving with you just 23 or 83 GB available for the 64 and 128 GB models respectively. By comparison OS X Mountain Lion requires 8 GB of space and iOS only 2.5 GB.
Sounds like it needs some serious refactoring and aggressive culling of old drivers.
Canonical has announced it’s launching a mobile OS in 2014, quite a long time in the mobile space. It’s Interesting that they don’t have any hardware partners yet, but that’s probably part of the long lead time as well as giving developers time to write apps.
Ubuntu’s direction of travel has been going this way since the Unity UI was introduced a couple of years ago and there were stronger hints of Canonical’s mobile interests at their developer summit a few months when they announced Ubuntu for Android.
A potential issue I can see with the swipe and gesture UI used on Ubuntu for mobile is it’s lack of discoverability. To my mind it’s like Mystery Meat Navigation without at least the possibility of seeing the mystery menus first. I’m sure they’ll come up with a clever way of teaching users the gestures, but it seems like it could be a stumbling block for a large number of people.
Ubuntu has done well in Enterprise with their server offering, overtaking Red Hat in powering the top million sites earlier last year and they certainly seem to be doing ‘one OS everywhere’ better than Microsoft has managed so far with Windows 8. The move into the mobile space is Canonical’s first step into the post-PC era that is clearly defining the next computing epoch which is one that sorely needs greater plurality.
If you aren’t already using front-end optimisation testing tools like YSlow and Page Speed then you really, really should make it part of your development process. I’ve used them for the past year or so and they’ve helped me squeeze every last drop of performance out of the sites I’ve built. I don’t think I’ve launched anything that’s scored less than 95/100.
On the desktop 90% of page load time is spent on the front-end (that’s everything after you’ve served the HTML). The mobile web brings with it all the normal problems of web performance and then some. Things like massively increased latency, more lost packets and far less computing power to run JS and render complicated CSS layouts.
Guy Podjarny, CTO of Blaze.io, spoke at Google recently about optimising mobile web performance. He shares a few tricks like making a dummy AJAX request every few seconds to keep connection to the mobile tower and using just-in-time image loading (lazy loading) for image heavy sites.
One thing I noticed recently in the excellent HTML5 Boilerplate is mobile first CSS media queries, so rather than style the layout for desktops and then remove floated elements with a max-width media query. It does the opposite with min-width queries, which (I would of thought) allows mobile web browsers to render the page faster.
I’m developing a few sites at the moment that use some of these techniques like lazy image loading and building page layouts on a fluid, responsive grid. At first they were a bit tricky to get my head around and implement but they’re powerful tools that benefit both mobile and desktop users, so I’ll be using them on all new sites I build in the future.