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Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps 140

tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry — you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform — Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone — the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ — won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.
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Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps

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  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:30PM (#49002087)

    Cool spinmeistering, brah. But all I hear is someone making up excuses for why Ubuntu phone will have less developers and fewer apps than even Windows Phone. And that's no small accomplishment.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, it wasn't clear what exactly is different about development. The phone and UI did look really nice though.

      • Well, it wasn't clear what exactly is different about development. The phone and UI did look really nice though.

        The phone is WAY overpriced for what it offers. For $230 US? With only a 940 x 560 screen? What is this - 2010?

      • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:55PM (#49002311)
        What part of "It is an Ubuntu phone that wont run ubuntu apps" did you not understand? This is the Open Source answer to Windows RT!

        Not only will it start with no apps, there never will be any. It is a phone designed to appeal to NO ONE.

        I for one am bitterly disappointed. I would love to run Ubuntu on my Samsung Note 3 - and run all the apps I run on my Ubuntu desk top, including the six virtual desktops or work spaces, or whatever the buzzword of the week is. I would love to press ctrl-X on my hacker's keyboard, and bring up one of many terminals. I want to have a machine with the power of a desktop in my pocket, and plug in an MHL cable and use a full size screen and keyboard when I want them. And I want to install mt-st and run Amanda with my USB DAT72 backup drive too!

        The Note 3 has 100 times the power of my old 486, which ran BSD386 fine (after a year or two of editing Xorg.conf). Hell, even an S3 outperforms every VAX I have ever used (and likely most Crays I have used too).

        Now we have nearly 50 years of learning how to produce a UI for a computer, why do phone manufacturers have to put so much effort into having crippled IUs? The answer is a choice of Gnome2 or KDE. What is with the rest of this crap? Seriously!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          they won't compete with a modern vector machine, but there are some classes of problem where a YMP is still a lot faster than a modern quad-core desktop. There's magic to having a beautiful vector architecture and a real memory system.

          • There's magic to having a beautiful vector architecture and a real memory system.

            There might be a magic to being able to SSH into it from your phone, but I cant fit a YMP in my pocket. Simulating large scale combustion dynamics can be fun or useful. But I can't really do that on my Core2 duo either.

            However, there are very few things on my desktop that would not be useful on a device that slips in my pocket as a fully working device, but can be configured to have a 26" monitor and full size keyboard.

            In

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          The article rightly points out that today's mobile apps provide enough of a Chicken and Egg dilemma, that even Microsoft can't get it. So Canonical's trying to sidestep that by saying we don't need mobile apps at all. They have a point. The way to sidestep the Chicken and Egg problem is to kill the chicken. When iOS and Android came along, the prevailing paradigm was traditional (Windows) desktop apps. But they came just at the moment that the web had made those traditional apps unnecessary for many (m

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @06:48PM (#49002715)

        I don't use an iphone, but when I see one it just looks dumb. A grid of icons of uniform size. Whereas android has widgets so you can see a chunk of information at once without opening an app first; and Windows Phone lets you resize the "icon" to be larger and make it an active icon displaying more than the number of unread emails. So I don't think Ubuntu is strictly being new at this style, instead just taking it a bit further and hiding the app grid altogether; maybe the scopes are just glorified widgets?

        The snag then is what happens when there's something new out there. Ie, the next killer phone game (angry bird ninja), does that go into the ubuntu "game" scope, is there a way to select it and open it, or...? The way it sounds right now, you'd need serious integration work into the scope for each new type of thing you want to do as opposed to stand-alone apps, so developer effort does not seem lessened even though that is the claim.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Excuse me but when I buy a appliance style device I expect to buy zero apps to make it work or have it functional. For me the app library, unless it is free apps with no advertising or privacy invasive features is meaningless. I un-installed most apps after trying them especially those really bloody annoying ones that are continually updating (is that some sort of scam to run up data charges, those apps updating without actually updating). In fact I dislike Google's app library becuase it does not allow f

      • Thanks to Google there are now apps as spam. What Google have enabled is appalling. They parasitized off the repository model of Open Source OS's and turned it into complete shit. Yes they could have enabled filters for truly free apps, but they never did because they are disgusting and sick.

    • This is actually how Android does it. In android, you don't need to develop a full app, you can just connect activities from other apps (including system apps), and the user won't know the difference. This approach doesn't work for games thought (unless your game is super simple).

    • The one feature that would have truly set this phone apart from anything else has been dropped - that is, Desktop mode when docked.

      This phone is nothing but your run-of-the-mill low-to-mid range phone.

    • Cool spinmeistering, brah. But all I hear is someone making up excuses for why Ubuntu phone will have less developers and fewer apps than even Windows Phone. And that's no small accomplishment.

      I don't know about you, but I for one am sick of downloading multiple megabyte apps from various websites to view what is essentially the same as what's on their webpages. Sometimes you end up getting 200Mb for a catalogue that doesn't even store offline data, which is frankly ridiculous. I've got an app for a TV station that weighs in at 20Mb, and I need it because the video on the web version is all Flash (and I'm on iOS) and even that seems too much (I can't imagine that they're using a codec that doesn'

    • I can't see this lack of apps on Windows Phone that everyone is talking about, I have everything there that I need. I heard many games are missing, but do we care?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do we even need native apps anymore? Most things don't need native speed and work fine as websites. I can't tell you how many websites now publish an app for the exact same content they offer on their mobile version of the site.

    3D games are probably one of the few exceptions.

    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:34PM (#49002113)

      Because websites aren't available offline, are much less responsive, have security and privacy issues, provide worse UX, and are less integrated with the hardware and system so can't provide polish that other apps can (such as sound muting if the user picks up the phone). Websites are ok if your purpose is to get up to date information, but they're a poor replacement for a real app.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because websites aren't available offline, are much less responsive, have security and privacy issues,

        The ignorance is strong with this one.

        provide worse UX, and are less integrated with the hardware and system so can't provide polish that other apps can (such as sound muting if the user picks up the phone). Websites are ok if your purpose is to get up to date information, but they're a poor replacement for a real app.

        You really haven't seen what the web platform is capable of these days, have you? I think the OP's point is sound. Realistically, I believe people get bored with installing apps, and at some point slow down with it. Also many previously installed sit around locally taking up resources auto-loading, auto-updating, and generally become even more of a security concern, as well as open up privacy issues that websites never could. The user doesn't visit the site? The softwar

        • The ignorance is strong with this one.

          How is a website going to play the music stored on my phone when I have no Internet connection? Much less how I'm going to be able to stream music in such a case.

          You really haven't seen what the web platform is capable of these days, have you?

          No, we have. People like you just highly exaggerate what it can do. If web apps were really that amazing, no one would be writing native apps anymore. Yet this isn't even remotely the case.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The ignorance is strong with this one.

            How is a website going to play the music stored on my phone when I have no Internet connection? Much less how I'm going to be able to stream music in such a case.

            You honestly, are trying to ask how a web app would stream music, and get this... over the Internet? Also, regarding local playback of things like mp3's using web application development strategies, I'll let you google it [google.com].

            You really haven't seen what the web platform is capable of these days, have you?

            No, we have. People like you just highly exaggerate what it can do. If web apps were really that amazing, no one would be writing native apps anymore. Yet this isn't even remotely the case.

            I understand, I really do. I know the history. Do you remember when Apple first announced that the iPhone would only use web apps? Have you used one from 2007? In retrospect, it seems like it would have turned out to be the worst of ideas. I wonder what Steve Jobs thought when presented wi

            • Also, regarding local playback of things like mp3's using web application development strategies, I'll let you google it [google.com].

              Some of those examples are really cool. That is amazing.

          • Also, how is a "web app" going to pay for my groceries? People will pay money for a native app, that they can download and "own". They will NOT pay to use a website. Whether you think that is logical or not, that is reality. If a phone doesn't support native apps, it will get very close to zero developers.

            • LMAO what do you think the entire free software thing is about? OMG tens of thousands of apps which are free. And, wait, much if not most of the core infrastructure enabling this page to be read and many of the essential functions that you perform via the Internet are... free. Not everything has to adhere to the bent, distorted model that Google and other proffer.

          • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

            That's the point of FirefoxOS. At least I hope it is, because otherwise it would be a waste.
            FirefoxOS provides web APIs (in JS) that allow access to local resources : files, camera, sensors, etc... with a permission system of course. The idea is that you can do anything from a browser, including working offline. In fact FirefoxOS is nothing but a bootable browser.

        • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

          Oh believe me I've seen quite a bit thank you. Lots of wasted white space, huge fonts, useless menus, pop overs, useless animations, abusive ads, fixed sized window requirements (no I don't want to run my browser full screen just so your site looks right), ugly drop shadows, pointless bevels, ugly borders that waste more space, sluggish performance even on quad core intel cpus, all housing limited functioning freemium garbage. Of course that doesn't hold a candle to the seemingly entitled attitude of the

      • They are a fair bit better with HTML5. The available offline and responsive issues can be solved easily enough if the web-dev gives some thought to those matters, though not all do so.

    • Re:Why not websites? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:35PM (#49002123) Homepage
      A clot of places that I use have native apps and i find the web based version, even on mobile is faster than the app. also a lot of time the content is not updated on the app in real time as the website. This is true in a lot of sports news apps and other informational based apps. Games on the other hand are different.
      • Re:Why not websites? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:57PM (#49002341)

        That's because most people just half-assedly slap together an "app" version of their web page that is usually dumbed-down and poorly optimized (if even at all). I've written about a dozens apps for myself to make certain websites I use better on my phone and even with the overhead of the having to parse the HTML for the bits of data I want, my apps are still faster and far more responsive and better to use than rendering the webpage in my browser. That also is probably due to the fact that I'm not having to run the gobs of javascript required for rendering the ads, web trackers, etc. as the browser does.

        • Most people don't even do that, they just find a free service that will half-assedly slap it together for them via a "one size fits all" webform.
    • Re:Why not websites? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:36PM (#49002139)

      Most things don't need native speed and work fine as websites.

      Yes, most things may not. Many things do. For example, I go and visit a small town only about an hour away from where I live. For much of the trip there and while in town I have either no data connection or one that measures at best in the 10s of KBs. How exactly am I going to play my music/audio books, in those areas if not with a native app? Pretty sure a website is going to be very much help.

      • Pretty sure a website *isn't* going to be very much help, that is.

      • Yes, most things may not. Many things do. For example, I go and visit a small town only about an hour away from where I live. For much of the trip there and while in town I have either no data connection or one that measures at best in the 10s of KBs. How exactly am I going to play my music/audio books, in those areas if not with a native app? Pretty sure a website is going to be very much help.

        The phrase "I live in the US" would have been a fine substitute for your example. Even if it's not true, it makes it much clearer. You can use that phrase and "crappy broadband" more or less interchangably.

        • I have gigabit Internet service at home and for mobile service I have 40+ mbit/sec LTE. Austin has some of the best Internet service in the US. :)

          The problem is that the town that I go to on the weekends is out in the boonies and has less than 3000 people so the high-speed data coverage is quite lacking.

        • Native apps all the way, since I don't actually have a dataplan enabled on my smartphone.

        • The phrase "I live in the US" would have been a fine substitute for your example.

          Not especially. Internet access is generally quite good where I'm at now, but I can drive for 15-30 minutes and be out in the boonies with minimal access.

          Even in Europe this is true, even if it's generally less severe because of the higher median density.

        • by murdocj ( 543661 )

          Huh? My broadband works fine... maybe you need to move? or are you shocked that in a country 3,000 miles wide the broadband varies?

      • Re:Why not websites? (Score:4, Informative)

        by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @06:20PM (#49002537)

        The HTML5 pdf viewer, audio player, image gallery and video player built into my Firefox OS phone all function offline.

        True, they're "apps" but there is no concept of "native" where everything is a webapp.

    • Let me know when websites have *good* tactile feedback utilizing the momentum of widgets.

      A native app should basically be a "offline cache" for when you _don't_ have internet access.

      The plus side, I don't have to worry about a vendor "pseudo" forcing me to up grade my OS just because they don't support some OS 2 versions ago when they've been supporting it for the last 4 or 5 versions.

    • Why do we even need native apps anymore?

      To conserve battery life. Modern portable devices would be able to last for days of active use if they didn't run managed code with demand so much DRAM.

      • Except that developer time is expensive, and a heck of a lot of "native" apps are written in and bundled with some 3rd-party run-time environment that chews up memory and processor cycles anyway.
    • Why do we even need native apps anymore?

      I don't know the answer to that, but I am mighty glad I can install VLC on my phones and tablet.

  • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:32PM (#49002105)

    How will scopes resolve the lack of games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush? Or things like SnapChat or Whatsapp?

    • It won't. But they have to make some sort of excuse for having a platform that will be less popular than Blackberry and Windows Phone.

      • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

        But they have to make some sort of excuse

        Oh, they have to? Really? So they already know they won't be successful, and are preemptively creating features to blame for their future lousy market share?

        You are asserting that trying to distinguish themselves in a cutthroat market--that sees little success from newcomers--is considered a poor excuse. Yet somehow, creating features that (presumably will in retrospect) suck is a sign of genius to those they are trying to impress?

        Interesting logic there.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How will scopes resolve the lack of games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush? Or things like SnapChat or Whatsapp?

      They want to sell it as an easier platform to develop on.

      It won't be. It will merely be proprietary, , which is what anyone is really going for these days.

      Can't say I blame them. Would you want to take a company head-first into that fucking patent battlefield? I wouldn't even fuck that with Apple's dick.

    • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:46PM (#49002245)

      The same way it did for Apple - by scrapping the stupid idea in the next version in favor of native apps.

      • The same way it did for Apple - by scrapping the stupid idea in the next version in favor of native apps.

        It didn't work for Apple because of the commercial nature of the app store -- everyone offering apps was looking for brand awareness. Ubuntu is Linux, and Linux is dominated by free software. Free software doesn't need brand awareness, because brand awareness is mostly about money. A great many apps unnecessarily tie function to the front end, when almost all the functionality is effectively a code library, and this is because they need brand awareness. Some Linux media apps still use a daemon for the actua

    • How will scopes resolve the lack of games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush? Or things like SnapChat or Whatsapp?

      Maybe Canonical is actually onto something here, and we're seeing the birth of a line of feature phones! </silly_mode>

    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      Why not write an android app to support their widgets..uh, tiles...uh scopes, that way, more than 17 people can try it. Having said that, the answer is probably because they don't want people saying "why would i have a phone that can just do that when i can get an android app which does everything else as well, and on a non-pokey phone".

      What is it with ubuntu and its silly little interfaces? Still scratching that `gotta look different from the rest` itch, right? They've not figured out that nobody care

    • It's Ubuntu. So you'll have Tetris and Reversi.
    • Or things like SnapChat or Whatsapp?

      Don't worry. The last thing we need is Ubuntu phone users sending naked pictures of themselves to others.

      I mean. It's on the list, but it's way down the list in terms of priority.

    • ...lack of games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush? Or things like SnapChat or Whatsapp?

      That's odd, I'm getting the impression that you speak of this as though it's a *bad* thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That the iphone originally didn't allow people to make native apps. So you either did stuff with the built in integrations, or made web apps with the iphone's theme. People bitched long and hard about it until they caved in, then made it seem like it was their brilliant and novel idea.

    This is incremental over that at most.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:36PM (#49002131)

    We won't have "apps", instead we'll have mini websites that kind of function like apps, but not really. But we won't call them apps so you can't complain that there are no apps.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Scopes are technically quite different from applications. You should check out technical details on the developer.ubuntu.com website but suffice it to say it's somewhat closer to Android's search provider with a declarative presentation layer that is *consumed* by the scope application (which there is exactly one) to surface content from various places on your screen.

      A scope can be developed on the back side of a napkin. It will have a nice, full-screen, interactive interface. That's quite unlike what you c

      • Look, you can't even describe it without using the word "application!" Give it up -- an app by any other name is still an app.

      • That's great. I'll explain that to Joe Sixpack and Grandma Q Apron and I'm sure they'll understand why their new phone has "scopes" instead of "apps." Trainwreck.
  • Not me. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Atzanteol ( 99067 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:38PM (#49002161) Homepage

    'When you want to listen to Nas's Illmatic you don't think "I want to fire up Grooveshark so I can listen to Illmatic." You just think "I really want to listen to the one of the greatest rap albums of all time right now."'

    Not me. I do think "Should I fire-up Subsonic and pre-load a bunch of music for later off-line use or stream now from Pandora?" Apps give not only content but specific functionality for their use-cases.

    Maybe I'm showing my age - but I prefer my apps to provide specific functionality rather than these sort of "mashups" where we just put a bunch of crap in front of the user and hope they find what they were trying to do.

    • I do think "Should I fire-up Subsonic and pre-load a bunch of music for later off-line use or stream now from Pandora?"

      And the reason you have to think that way is due to various real world limitations.

      Why in the world would you want to pre-load a bunch of music for later off-line use? Well, obviously, because you're going somewhere where you will be unable to access the Internet conveniently. You're taking a plane ride (and don't want to pay for Internet access). You're visiting a canyon or a tropical island where Internet access is not available.

      If I have a sudden urge to listen to Illmatic, I think, "I want to listen

      • You're right. That *is* the reality. So why is this Ubuntu phone trying to pretend that it isn't? Maybe this approach would work if Internet access was ubiquitous and cheap. Unfortunately it's portioned out normally in packages of less than a GB a month and costs a fortune.
    • You're still with the hip and cool crowd. I still refuse to use streaming music. All the music I listen to on my phone is MP3 which I strip the ID3's from because music players absolutely refuse to provide an option to just give me a list of Artist - Song, instead only sorting by title, or giving a list of artists I need to expand one by one, or god forbid by album or genre; and almost all ID3 sorting methods get thrown off by any tiny insignificant different like a space in the band name.
      And how do I find
  • iframes good, apps bad. Because integration between iframes is easier than integration between apps...right?

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:42PM (#49002211)
    It sounds like these "scopes" are going to rely heavily on data usage. They must have truly unlimited data in Europe. I don't see this going over well in the United States.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday February 06, 2015 @05:44PM (#49002229)

    For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two.

    Right. The Unity/Amazon Shopping Lens - 'cause searching for something on my device isn't any different than searching for stuff on the web - or a vendor.

  • Because they just sound like really shitty apps, to me.
  • Didn't Grooveshark lose a massive copyright infringement case recently? I notice they are still online had have a lot of music there, some of which I know is ripped because one album they have has never been released on any digital music service that I know of (and they still have Taylor Swift...). Why are they still around? I'm glad they are but I can't see how they can justify their existence.

    • ... I can't see how they can justify their existence.

      Do you mean legally? Or from a user perspective? The answer to the former is they can't, and the answer to the latter is because nobody else provides the functionality they do.

  • The problem with "rich user experience" is that there are so many of them.

    From the audio player app with graceful curves instead of square corners, the circle/bar (poweroff symbol) somewhere instead of "X" in the corner to close, shelves that open when you hover over a specific part of the app... you have to learn a new way of doing things, and it's only for that one app.

    Download images from a camera or phone, but it doesn't identify as a "disk", it requires an install disk so that it appears as a separate

    • by solios ( 53048 )

      In the case of Chrome at least, the "three horizontal bars" isn't just the way to Settings, it's where everything is if you're using Chrome on Windows. Settings is just one of the items in the list that pops up - bookmarks, tabs, history, etc. are all in there and boiling all of the menus down to a single item frees up a considerable amount of real estate, at least on Windows (on the Mac the menu at the top of the screen is retained and has most of the information and options of the dropdown, though that's

  • Can we still run it like a regular desktop machine? install KDE, use a keyboard, mouse and external display? I imagine not, but hope so!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's now app-get! It's similar to apt-get, but it requires a browser and can only "install" crapps that are merely webpages.

      Maybe they'll make it Windows 8-compatible and force the crapps to have a maximum of 16 colors onscreen at once.
  • Only gave it a cursory glance, so apologies if I've missed the crucial differentiator -

    Windows Phone combines all your contacts from different sources, all your chats from facebook, twitter, Skype and SMS, all your emails (if you want) into linked mailboxes.

    This just seems like a natural progression. however the above is incorrect. some of these features, which were so useful in one place, had the providers changing the APIs or Policies to prevent it. I used to be able to chat seamlessly with a friend on sm

    • Thank you, just what I was thinking. Windows Phone did this kind of thing before and it worked great till the service providers had a cry and broke it all. Before your pictures from facebook and Onedrive and the local filesystem were all accessible under a hub, same with chat. Then facebook realised it was great and broke it not once but twice bringing it back down to the level of every other platform.

      I wonder if they will throw a similar wrench in here or if they just broke out the tools to stuff it up

  • ...that makes neat features accessible to both developers and users.

    And by "solid platform", I mean something that demonstrates a consistent philosophy and design from the UI and APIs down through the kernel and the hardware.

    There should also be a specification (like Multi-Media PC was for Microsoft in the 90s) of what a minimum hardware configuration should look like for a given platform (mobile, desktop, etc) to support most of the apps users will find enticing.

    If you build a consistent, feature-stable pl

  • Why all this garbage? What we want is General Computing Device that we can configure and fully control. The rest will come.

    So sooner phone manufacturers get out of software business, sooner we will get over walled garden's walls.
  • In other words, it's an iPhone 3G. (Which you might also call "iPhone 1"). That's one of the few things Steve Jobs was wrong about. Fortunately, he came to his senses.
  • "For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two"

    I love this idea! I use my Android phone constantly and mostly listen to Pandora myself. I do have some music I purchased through Google and would buy more except what I want is to somehow mix my purchased music with Pandora.

    For example, I have a doc by my bed, another at work and one in my car. For each I get to setup alarm clock and driving modes.

  • The first reasonable phone able to do that competently is going to be a game changer.

    • Maemo did that 5 years ago.

      • From what I can see some conversion was still required. I couldn't just take a desktop program and run it.

        What is more, how many devices was it really deployed on? I'm seeing like... one.

        If MS or Apple released a phone that just ran windows/OSX that would be great. Sure, tweak the interface to fit the formfactor and interface but otherwise... just let me run the same programs everywhere.

    • As someone using a touch screen right now, no. Not even slightly.

      Desktop apps are hard to use on a 12" screen. They would be unusable on a phone, even simple ones. I see only negatives in allowing developers to code for every platform and slack out of optimising for each specific one.

      You say game changer, all I can hear is non-starter.

      • Apparently you've never remoted into a PC from your phone. It is entirely viable. The trick is to change the way the touch screen works depending on context. So for example in an app designed for the phone's interface you could have a 1:1 ratio of touch to the screen.

        However, when you're dealing with a program that assumed a mouse or any kind of finer motor control of the cursor... it makes sense to instead insert a cursor on the screen and treat the screen as a virtual touchpad which doesn't have a 1:1 rat

        • I use trainchinese on both phone and tablet. A touchscreen is perfect for such things, much more natural than trying to trace characters with a mouse or trackpad.

          Google Translate is also fantastic for this--if I see a character I don't know, I can whip out my phone, write it on the screen*, and--hey, presto!--I know I'm on Jade River Avenue and not some other River Avenue, and I can pronounce it correctly for my wife, so she can tell the taxi driver where to bring her to meet me. Thank goodness they started

        • Remote PC from a phone? If that is your argument then I am going to take a stance even more firmly for the negative. Remote PC from a phone is terrible. Utterly Terrible! Unusable Terrible. And I've tried pretty much every RDP program in the Play Store.

          Let me delve into a few of your points:

          The value to the corporation is not in a program, it's in the usability of that program and the efficiency gains you get from using it. If the desktop edition brings value then slapping it on a mobile device will bring o

          • I have a backpack that can carry a lot of stuff in it. I often have a gamepad in it along with an OTG cable. I also have a little bluetooth keyboard. I also have a little backup battery pack that can give my phone enough power to be in a high state of use all day without running out of power.

            As to turning the phone into something it is not... hmmm... I think you don't know what the modern smart phone actually is... it is already a small computer. I can plug a mouse or use a bluetooth mouse with any current

            • It is critically important to define what exactly a computer is in terms of this discussion. A smart phone definitely fits the description of a computer as a personal computation device capable of some things. It does not remotely fit the description of a general purpose Personal Computer as people understand the term "computer" to mean. A device with limited input functionality, a tiny screen, and typically used for quick absorption of information rather than a general purpose device is not a "computer" by

              • Inputs are only limited because you need to plug them into it. Once you do, it is not limited. It is true that when when you do this it becomes less mobile but it is still more mobile then anything else with comparable capability.

                As to tiny screens... only an issue if you have a hard time seeing what is on the screen. I noticed a lot of people don't get glasses that really should have them. I assume it is vanity or something. In any case, I can see just fine.

                As to remote desktops, try TeamViewer or RealVNC.

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