Are Phones Leading OS Innovation?

Here’s a great piece on Engadget by Paul Miller: Editorial: 10 outdated elements of desktop operating systems. It’s a very interesting read, not just about the problems of existing desktop operating systems, but pointing out that some of the possible solutions are right in front of us.

What’s cool is the degree to which phones are leading the development of new ways for us to use computers. Why? Phones are not encumbered by legacy software, so it’s easier for them try something new. And they’re built around mobility, the internet, and data that’s in the cloud — so their approaches are very different. Plus, phones are not in research labs, but in the hands of millions of users, so designers had to make solutions usable and scalable. (That probably sounds hostile to design research — which I don’t mean at all!)

Paul acknowledges that his editorial is inspired by all the rumors of what an Apple “Tablet” computer may be, “..a new sort of consumer ‘computer,’ a second coming of the Macintosh that rethinks what a personal computer should be.” But perhaps part of what’s driving all these rumors is our collective desire for a new way to use computers. As computers and software more fully embrace the internet and the data stored there, we’ll certainly be seeing a lot more innovation in interfaces and interaction. It’s a future that will definitely be very diverse and exciting.