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Of applications’ independence from devices

Flicking through my Twitter feed this morning, I noticed something about Google prophecying about applications soon been independent on the devices on which they run. I didn’t read any further, but the idea obviously seeded somewhere deep in my cerebrum, as it has been playing on my mind all day.

My initial reaction was “rubbish”. Web based apps are great – I’m a big user of Google Docs – but they’re far from device independent. I can access my Google Docs from anywhere, any computer, and even on my BlackBerry. But I’m not clinically insane, and wouldn’t try and write a dissertation on a BlackBerry. The application might work on one, but that’s not device independence.

But then something occurred to me: Email.

Not so long ago, I used to use Outlook Express to access my email at home. And for a while afterwards, I flirted with various versions of Outlook, Opera, Thunderbird and many others.

In my early years at uni, I had Outlook on my computer and a ZZN email account which would poll the various email servers I used and pull in copies for me to browse on the go when I was away from home.

Later, I had an iPaq – it seems so old worldly now, but it had no wireless or mobile connection. I would only get new email or send emails when it synced with my computer.

For a very long time, my computer was the centre of my email universe. That is no longer true.

Email is one application that is genuinely device independent. My Gmail is pushed to my BlackBerry, but if I’m sat at a computer I’m equally likely to just click onto a browser and access it that way – without a second thought.

I can access it using any computer with equal ease, and with full functionality. Due to their relatively short nature, I’m equally likely to tap out a reply on my BlackBerry as I am to reply via PC.

The idea of waiting, as I did only 5 years ago or so, until I get home to check my email seems hopelessly quaint and antiquated.

Is this level of unity gifted by the nature of email as an application? Or can Google (or anyone else for that matter) replicate it for other functions?

I wouldn’t be so quick to rule it out any more.

This 1,407th post was filed under: News and Comment, Technology, , .

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Comments and responses

Comment from Tony Snow


by Tony Snow

Comment posted at 20:30 on 26th January 2010.

I still reply on my pc for emails. Just about everyone I know who has email on their phone is already sick of the constant annoyance. Maybe it’s do to all the spam I receive in one of my accounts. I know this may be seem out of date now but I feel if its something that is that important then maybe you could simply call them.


Comment from pttugas


by pttugas

Comment posted at 12:47 on 23rd April 2010.

Good staff in your blog congrats.


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