The web is alive with comparisons of Google Android phones and Apple iPhones. While it seemed for a long time that the iPhone was going to own the market, Android has slowly picked up steam. In fact, Apple may have made a serious miscalculation in tying themselves with the AT&T network and a limited population of cell phone users. Meanwhile, Google Android has snuck into all the other providers as the operating system of choice since those other providers can’t get their hands on the iPhone.
However, what has emerged is not only a discussion about who will ultimately dominate the market, but the varying philosophies of the two competitors. The iPhone touts ease of use and intuitive user experience. Alternatively, the Android is about personalization and the ability to modify applications to suit your own specific requirements. Truth be told, I don’t really think there is that much of a usability or personalization gap between the two systems, but this is how the market is portraying it. The fact of the matter is that both systems are enormously easy to use and give you enough personalization opportunities.
Personally, I’m an Android user, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that what I want is to tap an application and quickly enter in what I had for lunch (translated to caloric intake), look at the weather delays for airports across the country, or quickly locate somewhere to have dinner. At the end of the day, users just want to get to the applications and data they want. They want a quick reference and that’s about it.
The future of HR applications may be 5 years away or more, but I like to think about managers who just want to quickly log into their phone and add a note about their employee’s performance and then check a quick metric around productivity. I think about the employee who logs in later that day and logs in their learning experiences in less than a minute and then uses the same phone to check their paystubs.
Theoretically, the presentation of data is all possible today, and quite easily. All applications should be able to ship out widgitized content that can be adaptable to phone technologies, so long as an application is written for it. Transactional processes are a bit tougher since legacy applications have to be reworked to accept transactions through these phones, but I’m convinced that these capabilities are not that far away either.
The core problem is that we have barely gotten to complex transactions on our intranet portals let alone getting to them on the phones. However, I think we’re largely making a transition from legacy email and portal applications as the places we do our work, to smart devices and Web 2.0 technologies. Back to the phone comparisons, it’s not about picking a winner – it’s about realizing what the customers want, and that is quick, fast, easy and on their device.