Mobile Platforms Rule, Next Stop Desktop

What a crazy week in the mobile world. Android’s tablet buzz continues to gain steam towards an imminent launch. Rumors of Apple’s iPad 2 are starting to roll in. Rumors of RIM’s BlackPad, uh, I mean PlayBook, running Android apps. Then some concrete announcements from HP on the rejuvenated webOS with some nice looking phones and tablet. And today the big Nokia/Microsoft Phone announcement. How does one keep up with it all while trying to do their day job :).

With all that’s going on, it’s pretty clear one thing in my mind. The rate of innovation in the mobile space is stunning. Why did it take these new platforms to unleash all this creativity. Why doesn’t my desktop look as sexy as all these tablets? What a price we paid for platform certainty under Microsoft, the closed hardware ecosystem of Mac, and the lack of real investment into the usability of Linux. It’s quite sad, really.

But I also sense opportunity. I’ve been closely following the progress of the android-x86.org project as they attempt to bring Android to x86 platforms, because I’m very curious about how the Android experience could scale to the traditional netbook, notebook, desktop. Frankly, it isn’t very good. But with Honeycomb, and the focus on larger screens, I have hope that will change. We’ll see when Honeycomb hits the AOSP.

And that thinking was somewhat validated by one of the most interesting announcements out of the HP event, at least in my mind. And that was the intention of HP to bring webOS into the PC space as well. Now all we got were words and almost no details, let alone a demo, but I am very curious about what they are going to come up with, and whether it will actually pan out or not (there was a sniff of vaporware in the air).

So we’ll see where this all lands. I hope we find out soon as this thing is keeping me up at nights thinking of all the possibilities and how this will change app development. As I keep saying, it sure is a great time to be a software developer. The shackles of the past couple of decades have been released and innovation is rampant.