The Smart Phone is the Truly Personal Computer

The inherent identity of a mobile phone is the most important aspect the emerging mobile centric world. Unlike the desktop world, the phone is truly one user-one device. It’s always been tied to a person’s phone number…the way you get in touch with them. The PC, whether a laptop or a desktop, has never been personal like a smart phone; it’s just single user.

For smartphone apps, this is a subtle but vital difference. PCs are often only used by one person, but that’s not the central use paradigm. Browser based applications always require a login. Apps on your smart phone only require a set up. From then on the apps know it’s you. Windows and Macs do have log-ins and key-rings and other conveniences for filling-in passwords, but this subtle shift in UX is important. For app developers, mobile allows much more intimate engagement.

I most appreciate the importance of this one-person, one-phone paradigm when using our shared kitchen iPad. Pads and Tablets have yet to work this through. The apps assume only one person is using it, easier on the apps, harder on the iPad users.

We are only just beginning to appreciate the power in mobile. It’s an extension, an enhancement, an augmentation of the person. This is already changing communication. It is only just beginning to change how we find things, find out about things, interact with things, and buy things. It’s what makes the cloud meaningfully interactive. It’s what will make the Internet of things useful.

Bill Girly’s recent post, Transitioning to a Mobile Centric World, does a great job of articulating the importance and power of mobile identity and engagement.

When I was in High School, I heard Alan Kay make the absurd and provocative statement, “a computer wont truly be personal until we are wearing it.” We are now living in Alan’s world.