My friend Greg Bettinelli posed an interesting question on Twitter today about whether the iPad should be considered “mobile”.
He makes an interesting point. Compared to a phone, consumption of the web on tablets isn’t nearly as mobile. It’s not happening “in car after kid drop off”. It’s more often on the couch, at least as far as commerce is concerned.
But even if that continues to be true, I think that much of the computing consumers do on tablets is different than what happens in traditionally “non” mobile environments of the desktop or laptop. Hard to explain, but I find that tablet browsing at home is often:
1. More bite sized
2. More “browse” oriented
3. More recreational
There are certain activities that are enhanced on the tablet, both by virtue of the UI but as well as the context under which the computing actually happens. That’s why I think entrepreneurs are so bullish on the tablet for commerce (especially experiential categories), gaming, and publishing. I think we will find that many of the most exciting applications that are heavily consumed on tablets are perfectly do-able on the desktop, but the tablet changes the consumers mindset.
But this is actually true for mobile phones too. It’s increasingly the computing device of choice even at home, but for some of the applications above. Most of mobile gaming is actually happening at home, not at the bus stop.
That’s why I think that “mobile” is a pretty bad term for the amazing innovation we are seeing in web consumption on phones and tablets. It’s really more than mobility and more about seamless integration in our lives. I think that’s a much better mindset to have when thinking about next-generation consumer web experiences.