Workers Favoring Mobile Devices Over Laptops

I stumbled onto an article from the Wall Street Journal called “Time to Leave the Laptop Behind” and found some interesting information about trends in employee preferences while traveling. 52% of the 1400 respondents said they could see themselves using their smart phone as their only computing device (if manufacturers continue to improve those devices). This evidence is relevant because it demonstrates the acceptance and reliance on mobile devices for productivity tasks beyond voice calls and basic email. What I see here is that mobile workers are building trust in their devices to do a lot of the things they once thought possible only with a PC. To be fair, the article cites employee needs beyond what is doable on a mobile device from a practical stand point, i.e. they still don’t want to author a white paper or try to build a presentation on their mobile device. However, many employees would be more than happy to avoid carrying laptops on trips if their mobile device can do most of the work.

Many of us look at our mobile device as a window onto the web, in the same way we look at our PCs. However, we don’t really view our mobile devices as an authoring tool. The mobile device is still more of a window than a work bench. From my mobile device, I can see the results of a lot of different types of work, but I can’t really create a whole lot… yet. Sure, I can microblog or upload images or videos and that’s good. If I’m creative, I can create some training, but things are still fragmented. It’s easy for me to upload an image or upload a video or upload text.  It’s not so easy to upload these things in a meaningful sequence to create anything beyond one step in a procedure. I believe we have mobile devices with the horsepower to create solid individual pieces right now, but we need tools to facilitate the creation of rich segments of training that can be uploaded in a sequence to create a whole training package. Of course, that’s just one thing we need. In the mean time, seeing the growing acceptance on mobile devices to reach out to the cloud and to our corporate tools is very encouraging for mobile learning.

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