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Laptop or Smartphone

October 29, 2008

advent-4211-msi-wind-mini-laptop-150x150This one is the biggie – as a mobile worker, a long distance remote worker, what is the main technology you need to do your job? Do you believe you need your hulking 15″ or 17″ Laptop that weighs 3kgs (6.5lbs)? Is that really a portable solution? Or are you the newly born iPhone convert who only needs that few small inches of screen and 6 hours of battery life? Which is it? Nick Wingfield at the Wall Street Journal has just written an interesting set of thoughts that at the headline level, imply that we all should be the iPhone convert by now.

However I believe that the choices as to which technology is best, is down to exactly what you have to do and where you have to do it. In fact for the generalist like myself, I see a continuum of devices as being needed for the mobile worker with a very important cornerstone at the centre – decent and effective data synchronisation. This is not fully the cloud world view – oh no, I see the need for the cloud to be part of a complete solution that ends up with data spread from device to device, over the cloud and in the cloud – pretty much of a whole atmosphereapproach.

Right now I have been experimenting with Microsoft Live Mesh as that cornerstone, combined with hosted Microsoft Exchange, Activesync,Evernote, Box.net, Logmein and JungleDisk. Some of these are more mature than others (Exchange and Activesync – although I have to be very Microsoft based from a device perspective), some are more small business than enterprise (Logmein/JungleDisk), and some are really flaky – Live Mesh. Right now (let us leave Mesh out of it for now), I have a very effective ecosystem for tech use combining two Netbooks, four other laptops, two mobile smartphones and three separate working locations – to the extent that I can (and have) suffer individual device failures and gone straight back to work – an important characteristic for an independent consultant like myself.

Now back to Live Mesh, this has showed promise and sort of does work but suffers from a failure to sync certain folders for no apparent reason, something I have shared with Paul Thurrott of winsupersite.com. I have stuck with it though, and not returned to Microsoft’s Foldershare or gone to competitors as yet although that is getting close.

So what sort of user do you believe you are? Smartphone or Laptop or somewhere in between, or somewhere else?

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