Bob and Dan are dead-on: The browser has served us well. It has provided a means by which we can have universal access to applications, transactions, and published information. But in the meantime, the PC has become a powerhouse: cpu, gpu, storage, price. The Great Conversion to notebook computers is well under way, and it's now clear that the most wildly successful wireless mobile productivity device won't be the 3G phone, or even the BlackBerry, but the ubiquitous and inexpensive WiFi notebook. In a shape and size to suit every need.
For a while, we were seduced into thinking that we should optimize costs by reducing the PC to being a dumb terminal, or by stopping the upgrade cycle, or by reverting to a simpler, generic OS. But as we by necessity deal with more and more PCs in our lives, and as we use them in more and more locations, and as we've come to terms with the fact that we can't imagine doing our jobs without them in the course of our work with others, it has become clearer that the most critical thing to optimize is our time. And in order to do that, we need more appropriate technology, not just simpler tech.
It's finally dawned on many of us that our software has fallen behind our infrastructure, and that we need significant upgrades to our systems and application software that bring them into an era of ubiquitous computing and communications. We need to prepare for, and to embrace a whole new generation of system and application software that leverages our computers and networks specifically and tangibly to increase our interpersonal productivity and agility. To enable us to spin more plates; or to keep them up in the air in a more measured manner.
Software that embraces mobility, synchronization, security, and manageability as transparent core attributes. Software that recognizes “people” as being just as important as “documents”. Software that recognizes transparent peer communications as being equal in importance to server communications. Software with a new model that synchronizes applications and activities, not just data or documents. We need to use multiple devices as seamlessly as we use one device; we need to be able to use them collaboratively as intuitively as we've used them alone.
Servers and browsers are like two peas in a pod, and the Web has largely run its course. In terms of the value that we can get from our own personal computers and the Internet, however, we're still at the dawn of a new era. An era in which software matters, and architecture matters. [Ray Ozzie's Weblog]