Today I heard a couple of Ipaq owners talk about failed attempts to back up and sync their machines. This, I think, must pretty much seal the fate of the brave little PDA.
For some time now, we have seen encroachment on both sides. Phones have been adding PDAness. Laptops have been getting smaller. PDAs might have fought off this challenge but heres why the laptop will win.
We live in a world where all missions are critical, where this is no opportunity for “do overs, where we are either in play or not, where we are taking on the knowledge and networks necessary to negotiate an ever more dynamic world or we are humpty dumpty and sh*t out of luck.
We cannot afford a failed backup or sync. More than that we cant endure the possibility of failure. We have to know that the data we have put in is the data we can be sure of getting out. There is no room for error.
The sync software is something less than perfectly reliable. But worse, it is almost always the case that we are making the sync or back up decision at the end of a very long day when the possibility of error is high. Chances are if the software doesnt make a mistake, I will.
The virtue of a laptop is that everything can happen on the same machine. No syncs are called for. And now that there are Vaios and ThinkPads that are not much heavier and a good deal smaller than a hard back, the laptop is finally unburdensome. It has completed the transition from transportable to portable to hardly noticeable. I sometimes have to stop and wonder whether my ThinkPad is in my brief case or not.
There is lots of talk in marketing these days about moving from USPs to deeper kinds of value, from product benefits to consumer benefits, from incremental propositions to real and enduring kinds of value. If knowing that you have your data, all of it, in exactly the form you need it, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if this isnt creating value of the most enduring kind for the consumer, I cant imagine what is.
Product categories compete as products do, and its clear that the laptop creates value that the PDA actually puts in jeopardy. Hmm, I think we have a winner.