Are Touch Based Devices Too Cutting Edge? Business Needs to Embrace Touch and the Future of Mobile Computing


touchscreen1It isn’t possible to force a market to choose a specific type of device or service, but it is possible to offer options and alternatives. The market today has more choice for the types of devices than ever before. Whether you choose devices like the Apple iPad, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy and Microsoft Surface, they all have something in common, portability and touch. The industry has even created an acronym “BYOD” Bring your own device to describe the scenarios in which people use these devices today. There is a wide variety of devices that you can adapt and incorporate into your lives, work or personal.

Companies are now dealing with how to manage the variety of portable, touch enabled devices that people are bringing into the workforce. Recently there was a partner meeting at Microsoft where they listen to individuals concerns and ideas and act on them. During that discussion Microsoft  stated they see 5 states of BYOD acceptance:

  1. Denial (There’s no way you’re connecting that to my network!)
  2. Anger (You did what? Do you know how vulnerable you just made the company?)
  3. Bargaining (Okay, I get BYOD, and we’ll support it *IF* I can wipe it when I need to, and you promise not to use external file services)
  4. Depression (Now the whole place is in complete chaos and I’ve got devices everywhere that I don’t manage in the same way)
  5. Acceptance (This is an opportunity to do some rationalization and transformation projects, and our workforce is happier and more productive)

It is interesting to note that many companies are still in the state of DENIAL. Organizations state “I won’t allow Windows 8 devices on my network” when they already run Windows XP and Windows 7 in their environment. Meanwhile, their users are sneaking iOS and android devices on their network, devices which are fundamentally different types of devices than the Windows / intel based devices that they currently use. The enterprise must wake up and realize that they can’t stop the influx of consumer devices. When a user discovers a device that is easy to use and conforms to the way they want to work, they are more productive.

Look at the impact of small form factor tablets and phones, all with touch interfaces. The adoption of these device has skyrocketed. Nielsen just released a report that states more people are using the internet on smartphones and tablets than on PCs. Gartner just released a report stating Android Tablets Outsold iPads for the first time. That same report goes on to state “Microsoft tablets exhibited the highest growth. About 4 million Microsoft tablets were sold during 2013, which is up 247% from the 1.1 million sold in 2012.”

Clearly people have adopted touch based devices that are easy to use and integrate into their lives. Tablet sales grew 68 percent in 2013, over 195 Million devices sold, including 121 Million Android Tablets, 70 Million iPads and 4 Million Microsoft Tablets. The enterprise can no longer afford to ignore this trend.

Microsoft’s Place in the New World Order of BYOD and Touch Devices

Microsoft’s 4 million tablets may seem small compared to the Android and Apple powerhouses, yet people are starting to adopt these devices as well. Whether you believe it is a perceived threat from Android, or increased production in Intel processors to create competitive tablets, Windows 8 devices are growing in availability and reducing in cost.

Many don’t understand this change in interface direction and have called for Microsoft to lose the “Windows 8” interface. Microsoft won’t reverse course now, as they drive touch and consistency across their device ecosystem. You will start to see Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Tablets, and other devices converge into one consistent experience as Microsoft tries to maintain their presence in the enterprise through devices that allow the end user the use their existing software on touch enabled devices that the enterprise can manage.

To understand why the radical change, you will need to think back to the devices in the marketplace prior to the release of Windows 8.  Apple had the standout device with touch while the PC OEM Manufacturers had become stagnant and un-innovative. Apple and Android gained and maintained a significant market share by creating extremely desirable devices.

The Changing Device Eco System

Touch changed the market, and now it’s hard to find devices that doesn’t have touch today. There are 8” form factors, touch based e-readers, convertible notebooks, 2 in 1 devices and transforming devices. Combined with the new line of Atom and Core processors from intel, the battery life is now equivalent if not better than the iPad.  Even Google has caught on, introducing a line of Touch Based Chromebooks.

While the iPad had touch first, the rest of the Apple eco system still does not. The Windows ecosystem of devices has now completely caught up and arguably driven the competition in new types of devices and form factors with touch. It begs the question, why hasn’t Apple added touch to the Macbooks? As Microsoft criticizes Apple for Macs being behind, the Apple loyal are now arguing over whether all Apple devices need touch at all. It’s already been decided that that touch devices are the Future of Mobile Computing.  It’s time to move on to a state of ACCEPTANCE and embrace Bring-your-own-IT.

Darren Baker


Darren Baker is the Business Development Director for Sogeti’s SMART WorkSpace Solutions. Darren helps customers evolve their workplace strategy and vision into the new world of work based on SogetiLabs Connected Workforce methodology. Darren is a public speaker and has spoken on behalf of Sogeti, Intel and Microsoft and appeared in several Microsoft videos. Darren also manages the Sogeti Intel Alliance, and travels throughout the 13 Sogeti operating countries and conducts training for the sales associates and consultants to ensure Sogeti can deliver cutting edge technology solutions.

More on Darren Baker.

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