Help me with this thought. Recently, I listened to other technology leaders talk about virtualizing iPads so the schools could run Windows applications and Flash content on those devices. This seems counterintuitive to the idea of portable technologies as well as vastly increases the costs of putting mobile technologies in schools.
Several years ago, I worked on a desktop virtualization project with a popular product. It worked well with putting current applications on older computers, but when it didn’t work, it raised havoc on computer labs. It gave me more chest pains than it was worth. And over about five years, its cost was nearly that of replacing the computer labs with new computers.
Help me understand why we want to buy tablets and then pay the expense to virtualize them to run Windows 7 and Flash.
Jeff – I think you are asking a great question. Seems to me that this “buzz” is not as strong as when the iPad first came out. When the iPad was first introduced – many “analysts” and “experts” doomed it to fail. Then when it didn’t fail, many IT folks didn’t know what to do with it or how to support it – so it appears that the thought of trying to make it like a PC (via virtualization) seemed to comfort them. I think the iPad has been a game changer – further pushing the “consumerization of IT” where employees of an organization are buying and bringing their own devices to work (and becoming more productive at work). By virtualizing I think you are really (in most cases) missing the big picture – and in turn being “forced” to use app’s that weren’t meant for or designed for a touch interface, but rather another input device such as a mouse. In addition, now you have an OS and file system to navigate via the virtualization. Maybe not a big deal – but part of the beauty of iOS is that there isn’t a (visible) file system – it’s incredibly simple. When you think about it, the iPad/iOS is a radical departure from what we have been traditionally familiar with in the IT space.
Now that the iPad has been around 18 months (can you believe it’s not even two years old yet?) you are seeing some really incredible apps – and many major websites have moved away from Flash to HTML5. As more enterprise organizations have embraced the iPad, many have created their own custom internal app’s. When you couple that with more websites and content being HTML5 – I’m not sure the idea of virtualizing iPads or other mobile devices in the tablet space is compelling as it might have been when this new market first started. As the “cloud” matures – I think the ecosystem around the iPad/iOS devices will be much stronger and much more compelling.