"Good Enough" Computing

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I don’t travel a tremendous amount; generally just enough to maintain status on my preferred airline. According to my TripIt travel stats, I’ve made 76 trips since 2012, or an average of around 11 per year, and mos of those were domestic. For the past several years, I’ve nearly always traveled with three devices: a phone, a Windows 10 device of some sort, and an iPad. Each serves its specific and intended purposes: the PC is for work, the iPad is for both productivity and entertainment while in transit, and the phone is for, well, phone stuff. But a few weeks ago I picked up a Surface Pro (2017) with Advanced LTE. I love it, and decided to conduct a little experiment to see if it could serve the purpose of both the laptop and the iPad. the answer was a nearly immediate no: there is no Wired Magazine app in the Microsoft store. And so ends the experiment. The iPad goes back in the bag. Of course I can get the paper version of the magazine but that’s not the point. As has been the case all along with the Windows/Microsoft app store, everyone has “that one app” they need but that isn’t available.

To me, this is where running Android apps natively on Windows comes in. If I could run the Android version of the Wired magazine app, it would make Windows 10 “good enough” that I could drop the iPad and travel with just two devices. Paul’s notes in his Aug. 24 Ask Paul column that a commenter pointed out that Microsoft planned to implement native Android app support in Windows but dropped it because the apps ran too well and presumably posed a threat to the Windows developer community. I argue that the threat already exists, and I agree with the notion that one might argue UWP has already lost and that adding native Android app support to Windows now makes sense.

For work reasons, I have no choice but to travel with a Windows 10 PC. So the question is what else I choose to travel with. If Windows 10 becomes “good enough” (presumably via native Android app support), then I’ll travel with just the Surface Pro and iPhone. But until then, I’ll continue to travel with multiple devices while I keep looking for something else that’s “good enough.” And that’s the point: Microsoft is in the perfect position to reach that “good enough” spot quickly whereas Chrome OS, iOS, and others would have a long way to go. And if Microsoft reaches that point of being “good enough,” maybe people will notice and stop actively trying to get away from it. And that, ultimately, could help the Windows developer community.

And maybe the distinction between Android developers and Windows developers will begin to blur. It seems like that would help Windows insofar as many of us are required to use Windows for one reason or another, but make doing so easier and less painful.

Just my two cents worth.

(and yes, I know I there are numerous ways I could accomplish what I want to accomplish with emulators, virtualization, workarounds, etc., etc. But that isn’t the point. I, and many other readers here, have the skills necessary to do those things. Normal people don’t, and it’s those normal people who would benefit from native Android app support.)

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