Now that the holiday shopping sprees are over, it’s time to settle down and look back at all the cool things we bought for others. Okay, done with that? Good. Now, let’s talk about all the cool things you were given! There was definitely no shortage of options out there, especially if you’re a fan of smartphones and tablets. And with all that shiny new hardware, comes a whole new landslide of folks diving head first into new ecosystems. Whole new worlds! And with the exposure to new ecosystems, there comes the opportunity to get the household involved.
When I saw people tweeting over the last couple of days about all the cool things they got, and I saw all the retweets of trends on which devices were purchased or not, I started to think about how many of those gadgets were making it into the same house. Were these people excited because they got their new iPhone and an Apple TV to use AirPlay with? Or, did a house with Google TV equipped finally pick up Android-powered handsets for the family?
For me and mine, it’s never been about a house that runs the same software. True story. No matter how embedded in a particular ecosystem I might be, someone else is usually running another platform entirely. I’d have an iPhone, the mother of my children would be using a BlackBerry. When she started using a Palm Pixi, I jumped over to the Android party. There was never a time when we were either using Android, or both using webOS, or even both using iOS (or iPhone OS, back then).
And an Apple TV, or even a Google TV? Nope, because there were only a few shows she wanted to watch and I don’t watch TV, other than what’s streamed on Netflix. So the Xbox 360 worked just fine for what I needed it to. There has never been a time where I’ve seen the same, or otherwise directly-connected platform, running in my house.
Even now, I’ve got the iPhone 5, and a Windows 8 Ultrabook. I love making things confusing.
These things switch all the time, obviously, and I really do love the idea behind having all my devices connected, and not just because of the WiFi in my home. (They obviously need that, so don’t take it away or anything.) But it wasn’t until earlier this week, while a friend was gearing up for Christmas that I got to experience how it looks in real life.
My friend has an iMac, a MacBook, an iPad, his iPhone, and an Apple TV. He has them all in the living room, and he uses AirPlay like a person who might use AirPlay too much. And he loves it. He wasn’t even showing anything off in the sense that I wanted him to. He was just playing a game on his iPad, and I was watching him do it on the TV on the wall. He’d use his iPhone as a remote for the Apple TV. (Now, this wasn’t as amazing, simply because I’ve done that with Xbox SmartGlass. But, still, connected platforms!)
My friend is an Apple fanboy, and that’s something he doesn’t mind admitting, so being knee-deep in that much Apple technology is awesome for him. But it got me thinking, how many houses look like this? And not just Apple products, either. How many houses are filled with Android-powered gadgets? Is there a house out there, outside of Canada (hah!), filled with only BlackBerry-branded devices? Are these households that actually try to keep all the members of the family on one platform?
This was made only worse after the shopping season on Twitter, and then watching everyone open their gifts. Did parents buy presents for their kids so they’d all have the same ecosystem in the house? Did you buy more gadgets for your own home to make sure that there was more Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone love going around? Or do you not pay any attention to which platform is in your house, beyond what you use?