One rotten Apple spoiled my perfect post-PC pie
I can't win. Just when I think I've finally cooked-up the perfect post-PC computing recipe, along comes some killjoy to spoil all the fun. This time around it's Apple. The Cupertino goon squad is on a mission to stomp out all unauthorized uses of lowercase letter "i" (among other things), and my latest pet project -- moving my entire computing life to a non-PC device -- is about to fall victim to their litigious ways.
You see, I made the unforgivable decision to deviate from Apple's proscribed post-PC formula (i.e. iPhone/iPad) and instead embrace the ways of the rebel Android Army. After several weeks of tweaking and tuning, I've finally achieved a level of PC-independence I never thought possible. But given last week's Apple-Samsung jury decision, I fear it may have all been for naught. That's because the reverberations from such a landmark case will no doubt spread far beyond its principle defendant (you didn't really think this was about hardware, did you?) to strike at the very heart of Google's OS strategy.
Now, with the future of Android in doubt, the literally hundreds of man hours I invested in learning how to become fully productive without a Windows PC have suddenly been devalued. For example, I'm writing this in QuickOffice HD, which has proven to be the most PC-like of the mobile office suites. And I did much of my research for the article through gReader, which, along with forums app TapaTalk, have become irreplaceable tools and the backbone of my news consumption and collaboration routine.
To be sure, some of these apps are available on the iPad. However, I shouldn't be forced to march to Apple's drumbeat just because I want to leave my laptop behind. Besides, after walking on the Android wild side (see the post about my rooting addiction), I imagine it will be hard to squeeze myself into the one-size-fits-all straightjacket that is iOS.
I suppose I could go back to my first love, Research in Motion's PlayBook. It runs the majority of the Android apps I now depend on, and it's also quite a bit more stable (Chrome regularly hangs ICS 4.0.3 and later on my Iconia Tab -- something unimaginable on PlayBook). Unfortunately, what you gain in robustness on OS 2.1 you lose in application fidelity, specifically the high degree of integration between Android apps and the underlying OS (love that notification system). But at least there's little risk that a lawsuit will call QNX's future into question. The PlayBook's gesture-based UI is nothing if not unique.
The other option, of course, is to simply break-out the notebook (or wait for Microsoft Surface) and go back to using Windows as my daily driver. It would mean admitting defeat -- that my efforts to wean myself off Microsoft's oh-so-addicting bits had ended in frustration. But it would also mean no more searching for workarounds to fundamental Android limitations, like the inability to use various obscure peripherals or to print a document directly from my device (never could get Google Cloud Print to work right).
Perhaps this was all by design: Microsoft waiting patiently while Apple slowly crucifies Google, thus restoring balance to the IT universe. With Android on the fast track to illegality, and with RIM on the ropes hoping for a Hail Mary with BB10, could we see a return to the glory days of the Microsoft/Apple rivalry? With the iPad and Surface duking it out for post-PC supremacy?
When a "jury of your peers" can't tell the difference between an iPhone and Samsung's "Galaxy-du-jour", anything is possible.