Friday, February 24, 2012

What Desktop OS’s could learn from Mobile OS’s

So, you have that fancy Android, iPhone, Blackberry, or some other smartphone or tablet.  You have your favorite apps installed.  You immediately notice updates every few days (if there is active development).  You install them happily knowing that the developers are putting out the latest edition of the app for you.  You also feel comforted knowing you never have to worry about if the software you have installed is outdated, putting you at risk, or not having all of the latest features.  Mobile apps, in my opinion, are revolutionary in the sense that the user never has to worry about having to open a variety of websites, or  the app just to check for those updates.  However, as long as desktop OS’s have been around, you still have to do the leg work to just see if there are updates, even if you don’t intend to use that particular app at that time.  Why is that?

After nearly maybe 30+ years of Desktop OS’s running the lead, why haven’t they implemented something like a “market” as seen on mobile OS’s?  Yes, there are millions of apps out in the wild for practically ever facet of our computing lives, but there never has really been anything solid to mimic this on your Windows or Mac computers.  Ubuntu seems to be the ONLY desktop OS that actually appears to do anything remotely like this.  A few other Linux distro’s seem to do this, as well. 

There are a LOT of aspects of mobile OS’s that are catching on very quickly that users take advantage of, and enjoy.  Particular for me is the auto-update that I am talking about.  I do not enjoy having to go back every so often on my computer and check updates for software.  I also do not like opening an application I intend to use just to get a pop up telling me about an update I have not been aware of that has put my currently outdated version MONTHS behind.

Admittedly, updating software on a desktop computer is tedious and time consuming.  Not only do you have to install the software, but you may have to reboot the computer after the updates.  On your smartphone or tablet, you don’t have to go through that rigor.  You simply update and go.  Now, come on Windows, Mac, and even Linux.  Get with the game!

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