Does the Desktop Really Matter?

In the last few months I’ve been playing with a cloud hosted virtual desktop. I am able to access the desktop from a Windows machine, a Macbook, an iPad, even the Motorola ATRIX. I’ve loved the experience of being able to work from a laptop during the day and then if needed login to my desktop from my iPad in the evening. Travel has become easier as well now that I can travel with the iPad and VGA adaptor vs. a full laptop to deliver a presentation.

But this has me wondering – does the desktop really matter?

As more and more of the ‘apps’ I need to interact with become ‘apps’ on my smartphone, what’s the need for a full desktop experience? While I still have the need to get to apps like Word, Excel, etc. – most of the time I just need to get access to a file, send an email, or approve something in a web based application.

I don’t know about you, but I spend most of my day in Outlook. Other than that, the rest of my time is split between using internal applications (HR, online learning, expenses, etc) or creating/editing content (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.).

Clearly, I’ve been able to get access to my email from virtually any device for some time, but now that reach is extending into internal applications. I have apps for our global address list, IM, and others –– and that app list is growing!

There is a lot of discussion these days around the ‘future of the desktop’ and what will the desktop look like in 5+ years. I am starting to think that this conversation is becoming less and less relevant. As more apps become mobile-enabled, and we all look to take advantage of the mobile-enabled world, it’s not access to the desktop that will matter – it’s the access to the applications!

This is accomplished through Cloud Computing where we focus on the job to be done and not on the computer.

If I can access an application via web browser, then why do I need the full desktop? If I can access an application via an icon on my smartphone, then why do I need the full desktop?

As we start to have more and more conversations around the mobile workforce and leveraging the cloud, the idea of the virtual desktop today could change significantly as we look to the idea of the desktop of the future.

Tell me what you think the desktop of the future will look like.  Will the desktop really matter in 5+ years? Will you be happy accessing your apps from a web browser, or from an app on your device?  We look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

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