Is the true multi-platform compatible future dead? Are we stuck in camps forever?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by sentinelsx, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. sentinelsx macrumors 68010

    Feb 28, 2011
    I was just reading around on some tech sites and have recently been considering buying an iPad and changing my iPhone 5 to a Note 2 again (i cannot even count how many times i have switched between and iPhone and android phones now lol) when an interesting thought came to mind.

    Would there ever be a future where i could put down my iPhone, pick up a BB10, Windows phone, android device etc the next day, install the same app and go on with my business?

    As it stands, apart from google, MS, EA, Gameloft, Facebook, news/banking/social companies, all indie developers have a preference for which platform to develop (85% of apps on my current device are indie developed great apps and games for which i need to find alternatives on another platform, seems to be the case on whatever platform i choose, everyone has a favorite one).

    That truly pisses me off sometimes. It is annoying when i have to use an iPad when an android, blackberry or windows tablet still lags behind in decent productive apps (our company has an iOS app for their control equipment for the industry processes, while android or windows or playbook is not even considered) and truly engaging games (try Kingdom Rush if you have an iPad, and you will see)..

    Not to mention we got Apple, MS, and google all trying to downplay each other all the time, and RIM is just down for a moment.

    I don't know, i just hate belonging to a camp just because i wanted something and it can only be done in one environment. This is 2013, not 1995. Shouldn't true cross-hardware or cross-platform computing be the standard by now?
  2. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    There will always be some developers that develop for all major platforms, but for small developers they probably won't have the resources to do it. So I doubt it will ever become easier to switch platforms, probably it will become harder is my guess.
  3. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2007
    thats why i don't pay for apps. Just a waste of money
  4. jamojamo macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2010
    If an App is beneficial to me I gladly pay for it and I have both platforms. Not sure why you'd limit yourself (if you do), because an app that costs money.
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well, I'd say that one of two things is going to happen over the next few years:

    1. One platform is going to 'win' and we'll have a platform monoculture just like we did with PCs in the late 80s and 90s, with the competitors extinguished or pushed into small niches with very limited software availability.

    2. The market is going to remain split between 2 or 3 significant players.

    Case 2 takes us back to the 80s and the larger players will have to learn to target multiple platforms if they want to maximise their profits. This will create a demand for multi-platform development tools. It might also re-kindle the interest in the big existing cross-platform tool -'HTML5*' - which will become more practical as devices get more powerful and can cope with the inefficiencies. It may also be that, as mobile data coverage and speed improves, web apps will become more popular. HTML5 technologies for things like 3D graphics may also mature a bit.

    I've no idea how many apps are currently HTML5 - quite a proportion of the simpler ones I suspect. With decent libraries to iron out the incompatibilities it makes it relatively easy to target multiple platforms, including desktop systems.

    (* I'm using HTML5 as shorthand for a raft of web-app technologies).
  6. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    Most apps are available on both iOS and android. As far as windows phone and bb10, we'll have to see how well those ecosystems grow.
  7. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    I'm quite happy with my Macs, Android phone, iPad get up.

    It might soon be Macs, Android phone and Android tablet get up.
  8. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    The only way that will happen is if HTML apps take off and become more powerful. Even in the desktop space there are apps only available for Mac or windows (or even Ubuntu!).
  9. jalamb86 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2013
    I'm looking to consolidate for my next round of purchases. I have an iPhone 4s, a Nexus 7, and an Acer laptop. Depending on the direction Apple takes this year, I might be replacing my old laptop with a macbook air and just dedicating myself to itunes and icloud.

    But if things keep going the way they are, I might hitch my wagon to Google.
  10. kylera macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    I always kept an eye open for multiplatform compatibility, but at the same time, I'm torn by certain exclusive apps that are ridiculously useful to me, like OmniFocus or Day One.

    Hell, at this stage, I am committed to iOS and OS X JUST because of OF.
  11. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    You must be fairly young.... and not know much about what kind of software and hardware compatibility it takes for a computer system to work.

    The closest thing to what you're asking for is Java... and Java has its own special sets of problems.

    Short answer: With computing, there is rarely a single series of ways that can do everything the best way. As long as we are asking out device to be phones, cameras, music players, computing platforms, GPSs, etc... then there will be a reason for someone to accomplish things their way (rather than apple's way or google's way or ubuntu's way). Having said that...thank God for people like Linus Torvalds.

    The choices you have today in 2013 are more varied and better than the choices we had in 1983
  12. sentinelsx, Jan 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013

    sentinelsx thread starter macrumors 68010

    Feb 28, 2011
    Looking at some of the replies here, i have also a sense that many are concentrating too much on the OSes than software libraries present.

    Sure, you may not "need" it, but more application software is always nice. For example, one of my friends always says PCs are crap and macs are awesome. I test drove his macbook for quite a while, for hours in fact, and some things were nice. The gestures etc for example. However, i still failed to see how it could make me switch from my antique windows 7 laptop. May be because win 7 is stable enough now that i haven't configured or maintained it and instead focus 100% on the "apps", you know, the word processing, browser, coding tools, hardware interface software, tons of games, media software, photo and video editing, anything you name it pretty much exists on windows. THAT is why i find it hard to switch.

    I could care less if my win 7 machine "might" need a re-install a year from now and my friend's macbook doesn't, because i enjoy the software library. Macs do look good, and are nice, but again all my work (i am not into music creation or hardcore animation stuff) AND entertainment is handled nicely by that old laptop. Only thing i cannot do is develop for iOS on it which is sad. (you can develop for anything on macs, thanks to bootcamp etc, with some exceptions but it is much better, i wish apple allowed OS X to be run on PCs for dev reasons).

    So which is what brings me to iOS and android and other mobile OSes. I don't care if android lags a little bit, or if iOS is very polished, or if WP8 has tons of social stuff in it, what matters is how much quality software is there. And iOS devices do piss me off because they are a bit too locked down and there is no other reason than apple wanting to keep users locked in but then many of my favorite apps and entertainment stuff have yet to make it to the other OSes.

    Could cloud computing come to the rescue? Not just storage, but allowing remote servers to do the computing. May be if our carriers and ISPs stop being ******s, app developers could simply make "clients" for their apps which would be easier to develop and allow a window into the real code execution at the remote server. Something chrome OS is probably trying to do i guess. That way all of the Apple, google, MS, RIM lovers can get whatever they love (frankly i cannot get the whole company and hardware loving point, but whatever) and use the apps on whatever platform they wish to use.

    This mostly came to my mind because i am eyeing the note 2 and iPad 4 (currently owning iPhone 5 after a trade with S3) but i cannot justify buying both. The note's OS has all the ease i need, file sharing and data transfer is much easier without the need of special software, web sharing, app data sharing is great, but some of the apps i need are missing (and i have been using android since Eclair and watching the play store for a long time btw, and please don't mention instagram or facebook, because they are non existent even on my iPhone, a waste of time IMO). On the other hand, the iPad has the software apps, but the OS is too clunky. Too many workarounds for things like copying files, accessing files from web, sharing multiple file formats for media etc with other devices. And whatever MS is doing with there mobile stuff isn't helping much either so far.

    I could care less about how a note or iPad works smoothness wise or whatever, because the "lag" is not something i notice anymore on a ICS or JB device that much. I want all the quality apps for multiple categories, that is what i would like on windows, android, blackberry etc moving forward. I do NOT care whether facebook is easier to access or whether you got widgets.

    The same issue exists with a WP8 phone and Win RT tablet (my PC is fine so far so an expensive winpro tablet is not what i am after). The OS is finally somewhat less restrictive now, but the software library is even in worse shape.

    Basically i have to choose between convenience and great software library when it comes to mobile, which is not something i was used to on desktop, and it drives me nuts.
  13. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California

    I've lived & worked in a cross platform environment for years. Apples creation of the app model & iTunes was brilliant for them. A perfect way to lock in their customers.

    Conversely I reluctantly have tolerated it, yet abhor it.

    Slowly the industry is migrating to a point where apps will fade away & we'll be able to use our smartphones without apps.

    I'm thrilled at the direction they're headed.
  14. sentinelsx thread starter macrumors 68010

    Feb 28, 2011
    I hope HTML5 (or 6 or 7 etc) will be able to finally liberate us from this lock in. It already allows offline fallback to locally cached copies of an app when a network is not available, and it could be developed further to enable good offline apps if crappy coverage and battery life is a concern. But something has to be done.


    Even more reason to support it then. Could HTML be the savior of users?


    Well technically everything you even do on your PC or mac is handled by an "app". It is just a short form for application software. We have all been using those for ages.

    The silos are only happening in mobile though.
  15. Internaut macrumors 6502a

    There's actually a great deal of compatibility between the platforms, at least for the major things. If your idea of the cloud is Google, then Google Drive works on both the iPhone and Android. Same for Microsoft Skydive. Dropbox and Evernote are both nicely multi platform and a lot of the applications that were available on my iPhone and iPad (down to such niceties as the train line and UK bus tracker) are there for Android.

    Looking to Microsoft, things are not looking so promising, especially for Windows RT where the silly fools are chasing profit when building out an ecosystem should be the overriding priority.
  16. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    At the time that the iPhone came out, there was only one fast universal app system, and that was J2ME. (Java Mobile Edition) Almost every smartphone supported or had a third party way to support it.

    It really only had one main problem, and that was the lack of a common higher level UI library. (Although J2ME Polish was becoming popular.)

    My first thought when I saw the iPhone, was yay, Apple will come out with a universal J2ME UI kit and we will finally have apps that run and look good on every smartphone. Silly me. Greed wins over everything.

    Mobile Flash was another possibility at a universal app maker, and it DID support resolution independent apps. It was slowly being improved by Adobe after they bought it from Macromedia, but again, Apple wanted no competition to its app store, so they helped bring it down.

    HTML5... well, I've done a lot of HTML5 standalone app development. Maybe once we get better access to native functionality such as the file system without needing wrappers like PhoneGap.

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