Time To Drop The “Desktop vs. Mobile” Comparisons

June 18, 2014 by guest author, Paul Croubalian



Guest Post: Paul Vincent, Neuranet

Back in 2008 when the iPhone was less than a year old and the iPad was but a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye – most mobile internet speeds were a fraction of what they are today, and smartphones were almost impossible to monetize. Companies betting on the growth of smartphone usage needed some way to show the growth, and “Desktop vs Mobile” comparisons began.

As mid-2014 approaches and we wonder when the iPhone 6 will come out, the Desktop vs Mobile comparison is now holding back the digital industry.

It’s too late to try and standardize ‘Desktop’ & ‘Mobile’ definitions; we need to move the focus of the Digital Industry to ‘Cross-device’ so we can drive innovation in the right areas.

Web Technologies

Now is the time to move from “Desktop vs. Mobile Experience” to the “Cross Device Experience”, because the characteristics that once separated Desktop & Mobile are rapidly converging:

1. Screen resolutions are now just as high, if not higher on many smartphones as laptops & external screens.

2. Mobile data speeds are often faster than WIFI, and WIFI is usually available, at home and at work, where our smartphones & tablets are mostly used.

3. Touch screens now available on desktops/laptops via Windows 8, and Apple will soon follow. Even living room TVs will eventually have touch and/or gesture capabilities.

4. New hybrid laptop/tablets are launching such as the Microsoft Surface 3 and Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro which make the Desktop vs. Mobile comparison even more confusing.

5. Device screen mirroring is taking off quickly (Apple TV, Google Chromecast etc.) and makes the comparison between desktop and mobile really complex. For example: if you send HD video from your smartphone to your living room TV, is that ‘mobile video’? And regardless of the answer, why does it matter? Customers and advertisers are more concerned that the video quality isn’t low just because the video provider decided that ‘smartphone’ means a low quality connection or a small screen.

Changing industry terminology and buzzwords is difficult but with your help we can end the use of ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ comparisons (especially metrics) so we can all move to an optimized ‘cross-device’ experience faster. This will help drive faster innovation in site/app/advertising design and result in higher engagement and value.


Paul Vincent is one of the expert speakers at DSrupted 2014 in Toronto – a conference focused on disruptive technology and digital signage. Paul will be talking about where HTML5 is at and where it is going. Seats at DSrupted are limited. get yours now.

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