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Not all software should be ported to smartphones

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Not all software should be ported to smartphones


During the last decade we have been witnessing the smartphone revolution. Mobile phones have become multi-purpose tools, they can do much more than handling calls. At the very beginning we were all filling our new toy with all kind of stuff and it was really funny. Smartphones are great and you can do lots of things with them. Actually there are tons of apps that can take advantage of the portability of such type of device. Some of those apps are the result of its success and would not have existed otherwise but I believe not everything can or should be ported to smartphones.

Indeed, smartphones are not notebooks nor real portable computers. They are something else. Actually, since they are phones and they are supposed to be carried virtually everywhere there owners go, they include a small screen and they don’t have a real keyboard. As a result mobile devices may be harder to use with given applications, even with the biggest screen available. Even tablet computers like the iPad can be difficult to use, mostly because the way you handle them. When you have to use a computer for long periods of time either you are sitting on a good office chair in front of a desktop computer or, if you need to work on the go, you will use a good laptop. Both have a real keyboard and a real easy-to-read screen, the latter even includes a battery.

In the past I used to receive requests for Maxprog applications to be ported to the iPhone and the iPad. Nowadays it is quite rare to say the true, sometimes I wonder why. Is it because people have finally understood the limitations of those devices, or maybe because they are now aware smartphones and tablets are not the best choice for given tasks after all or simply because things have calmed down somehow and the smartphone market has matured. Indeed smartphones are not swiss knives, I know what I am talking about, I own an iPhone and several iPads.

I could write that blog entry on my iPhone, yes, using a tiny screen with a tiny keyboard. That's not appealing at all. I would do it if I had no choice. Maybe I could write it with my iPad, I tried but I develop wrist pain very fast and I have to stop. I guess it is because the way you sustain the device and how you have to move your hands to type. If you forget about mobility a smartphone would be better with a bigger screen and an iPad with a real keyboard. The later is what we know as 'laptop' by the way. In my opinion a good tablet should be lightweight.

I believe all those devices have their own purpose and they rarely replace each others. A smartphone is not a desktop computer and a tablet is not a laptop. I can’t live with my smartphone and the app I use are unique. I can’t live without my desktop computer because I am a software developer, I spend lot of time coding. A laptop is great if you have to move often. I am writing this post on my wife laptop. I almost never use iPads, the ones I own are too heavy, sometimes I even wonder why they actually exist. They look like niche devices Apple successfully managed to create a new market for. I want to think otherwise, I tried really hard but at the end I am happy with my MacMini/iPhone7/MacPro trio.

Stan Busk - Software Engineer
at www.maxprog.com

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