Most people have a smart phone, a laptop or desktop and many are getting tablets. Brands, versions, “ecosystems” and connectivity options abound.
Some people choose to stay with one brand for all their devices. Take Apple for example. Apple can supply you with your phone, laptop, desktop and tablet. Going this route gives you incredible consistency in your visual interface and all the devices share data seemlesly. The software ecosystem (App Store) is heavily curated so you generally don’t have to worry about crap software.
Photos, emails, contacts and more are seemless across all of your devices.
Anyone who’s an Apple fan will tell you this is a great experience. Apple succeeded in that area.
Most of us however aren’t 100% Apple. Personally and in my family we’re all over the place.
I have a Windows 7 desktop (home grown), Windows XP laptops (Dell or Acer depending on my mood), Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) and an Apple iPad 3.
To the average person sharing data across this mess would be…well…a mess. But it doesn’t have to be.
The common services for all these devices are Google and Dropbox.
Google gives me email, contacts and calendars. Dropbox give me photos and files across all of them. (I know Google Drive could but it didn’t exist until after I established my very well working system)
I use a paid Dropbox account because I use it for backup and daily use but the free option may be enough for you.
My phone and iPad both upload their photos to Dropbox- thus my photos are not only backed up but available everywhere.
Google keeps my email, calendar and contacts in sync across them all. I even use Outlook on occasion on my desktop but I find that Google’s web interface is faster and easier in most cases.
Does it all work? Yup. Can it adapt? I believe so.
Now, I do have to give Apple some credit for iCloud though. I started out with an iPhone 3 upgraded to a 4 and then got bored with iPhones after I got an iPad. I didn’t see the point of my phone and tablet being able to do the same thing. Why not have a phone that could do more and compliment it with an iPad? (that’s a whole other story)
iCloud did a great job of keeping my email, contacts, calendars and photos in sync. BUT, because my desktop and laptops are Windows there was a lot of hair pulling with iCloud’s Windows desktop components. Granted- Apple only supports Windows because it HAS to, not because it wants to. I get it but they need to do a better job. Not everyone wants a Mac.
iCloud’s web email client however blows. It sucks. Really really bad. Google wins for web email clients.
Thus the switch to Google for my primary email, contact and calendar use was a no brainer. Plus it works better on more platforms.
Ultimately my preference is for what works for me. I like things that just work.
Things that just work however have degrees. If you’re willing to take the time to set it up you can make anything just work. If you have all Apple products- they just work. That’s a credit to Apple.
If you have all Android/Google products they just work- not as seemless but well enough.
If you have a mix it gets complicated but it can be done.
At this point in the tech world you can have what ever combination of devices you want and they can all play nice.
The only exception I can see to that are native apps. Apps are specific to the device or OS you’re using and it’s getting more fragmented and complicated every day. But that’s a whole other topic.