Thinking Ahead while Looking Backward

Earlier, I read a great article on TechCrunch. Basically, the author goes back to the 1970s and asserts that this was the time when computers when from a specialty item into something everyday people wanted to own. The 1980s brought the next evolution in computers with the Mac, which was much more graphics-oriented. The 1990s brought the Internet era.

It’s hard to decipher what qualifies as the next evolution. Certainly mobile devices are part of the foundation. From mobile devices, we have seen innovative applications that were specifically tailored for mobile devices like Foursquare and Instagram. But the author believes the next thing we will see is more apps that are interactive, that are designed for multiple users and/or multiple screens. Beyond that, we may see a huge leap forward. The author notes that eventually we are likely to be able to point to a screen and interact with it in a literal physical sense, but we are a long way from that still.

The author’s ideas are interesting and seem to be right on. I think the next step we will see if more of a social element to apps and more of a multi-use format so that people can multi-task. While they’re doing something on one device, they can go to the store and check it on a separate mobile device, then get yet another update when they return home. In a lot of ways, it’s really just a natural progression from multi-use on devices like laptops and desktops to mobile devices. Just how interactive things become will be very interesting to see.

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