The Purchase Dilemma: New PCs or New Mobile Devices For Your Business?
In the early 2000s, it was perfectly normal for employees to be confined to their desks every day as they worked on desktop PCs with tethered CRT monitors. After all, employees basically had no other options to get their work done. Then came the laptop, and a new degree of freedom was enjoyed as employees could now carry their workstations with them in a bag. This offered a new level of flexibility in terms of work location, but it still meant employees needed to carry around a sizeable object to get work done.
Recently, however, device manufacturers have been producing ultra-powerful mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that can be picked up and turned on in a second to accomplish work-related tasks, promising even more productivity. The availability of these powerful and portable devices has led to many workers shifting tasks that were traditionally done on PCs to smartphones and tablets. Needless to say, this has adversely affected laptop sales over the last few years, and according to Gartner, global sales of PCs are falling quickly.
At this point, if you’re in the market for a new PC, you might be asking yourself if you should be shopping for a new mobile device instead. Let’s help you decide by examining three tasks traditionally done on a desktop interface, and exploring the mobile solutions that are now available to complete these tasks:
Knowing your way around the Microsoft Office Suite is an essential skill that many of us first learned in high school and university. Globally, Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing program used on workplace PCs. But with the introduction of Office 365, a cloud-based subscription service, Microsoft Word can now be used on mobile devices to get work done on the go.
With programs like Office 365, mobile workers can create documents anytime they have access to the Internet and store/share files via the cloud. Mobile workers can also share files with others inside and outside their organization, remotely control who can see and edit files, and seamlessly switch to working on a PC or another mobile device by simply logging in. Additionally, touch-friendly user interfaces and predictive typing on smartphone keyboards make writing and editing documents on a mobile device even more of a reality.
After word processing, spreadsheet programs like Excel are the next most-widely used productivity tool on PCs. Up until recently, many people – especially those in finance – could not imagine working with cell-based spreadsheets on a smartphone due to a lack of space or intuitive user interfaces.
However, intuitive new user interface designs – like the icon-centric design of Excel in Office 365, for example – are making it easy and convenient to work with on smaller touchscreen displays. Furthermore, smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Mega and Galaxy Note 3 have super-sized screens, blurring the line between a tablet and a smartphone. While most people will still use spreadsheets primarily on a laptop, they now have the flexibility to seamlessly move from a PC to a mobile device to view and update a spreadsheet with new data.
When it comes time to edit a promotional video for YouTube, most workers are likely to turn to an editing program like Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie. Perhaps some more advanced users will look to a tool like Final Cut. But since most smartphones and tablets feature high-end video cameras and have large amounts of internal storage and processing power, they can easily be used as mobile video studios.
In fact, editing video directly on a smartphone or tablet offers many advantages over PC-based editing. Since there is no transferring of video files from one device to another, users can quickly shoot, edit, and publish videos for online viewing. Today’s powerful devices allow you to edit video from anywhere – at the office lunch room, at the coffee shop, or at home. Additionally, many video editing apps are built for users with novice editing skills, so users with little or no technical knowledge can stitch together videos, photos and audio into a cohesive presentation.
The bottom line
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets can now perform many of the tasks we traditionally completed on desktop and laptop interfaces. And as we spend more time on mobile devices, we can use smartphones and tablets as productivity tools on-the-go.
When it comes to productivity, how much do you use your PC compared to your smartphone or tablet? Let us know in the comments section below.