Pocket Laptop

Yesterday I managed to finally get Star Realms running on my laptop using Proton. I then promptly deleted it from my phone; a platform that I've been using for what feels like a decade with this software. I started thinking about why this is and I (naturally) have some thoughts.

I'm not really a fan of mobile devices. I've owned both Android and iOS devices and both platforms leave me cold. I joked that what I want is a working Linux phone, but that's really true. What I want is a device that essentially mirrors what I have on my laptop but with a slightly better touch interface.

Just for grins I took a look at the current crop of Linux phones. I'm surprised at some of the quality of the devices. I'm also surprised at the expense of some of the machines. The $1,299 pocket device is definitely something I'm not interested in. I'd sooner cart around a laptop. Not to mention that if you see one for sale you must buy it then lest it suddenly become sparkling unobtanium

And that's just it; I've never really appreciated mobile interfaces. I always feel constrained on them. I can appreciate that most folks find them easier to use than a desktop machine but I find the opposite to be true. I haven't reached the skill-level required to remember all the various ways to press, tickle, or (rude) gesture the device to make things work. And don't get me started on mobile-first design where crucial functionality is buried under a three-line menu (you hope).

That's all before we get to the platforms themselves. Android is really not exciting me anymore. I was never excited about mobile development (thinking about app stores or programming in Java was never something I cared about), but it just feels like the joy has been completely sucked out of the platform. What felt scrappy and new is just dusty and decrepit. Given Google's own downsizing and need to save money wherever it can (check the staplers, Google) it's clear to me that Google can no longer be counted on to be their own stewards of the platform. I read an article about how to save Android but midway through the usual cries to make Android truly opensource I realized that I I couldn't care less if Android thrived or died. I simply don't care anymore.

I don't think I'm alone in thinking that mobile's days are numbered. The current duopoly of iOS / Android is not a given. Apple has more to lose if iOS is no longer viable, but I sincerely believe both platform's days are numbered. There's just no joy on the platforms anymore; from crappy software to shitty stores and sub-par user experience.

Maybe things will change soon but I'm not hopeful. We're in the phase of mobile where everyone that wants one has one and only the superfans want something better. And frankly I'm not convinced I need to keep playing this silly game with mobile. My mantra is that I'd rather play games that are worth playing, and right now mobile is a terrible game.

Pocket Laptop when? (And yes, I've seen the Pro 1 X F(x)tec).