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Saving State

July 29, 2011

So you finally got that new iPhone to compliment the Macbook Pro. Oh and the new iPad for reading on the train…did you forget to mention the shiny new iMac at your office? As the price of computing gadgets continues to be driven down, people are buying more and more devices. This new reality has pushed companies to develop ways for consumers to maintain state.

When I open the Kindle app on my laptop, Amazon’s clever “WhisperSync” feature instantly jumps to my last opened page, regardless of what device it was on. HP’s WebOS platform is allowing consumers to seamlessly transfer web pages from tablet to mobile phones. My RSS app for iOS, Reeder, automatically updates my stream of news stories based on what I recently read on Google Reader. Even my bookmarks and extensions sync on the fly between various computers running Chrome.

With Apple’s iCloud launching in the fall, saving state continues to be taken to new level. Native software applications like Photos will stream data back and forth between different devices with music being similarly distributed. As companies continue to consolidate their platforms these enhancements are going to increasingly make a more fluid experience. The idea is make a UI so consistent that users hardly notice when they put down their smartphone and pick up a tablet. The industry is still approaching this point in steps, but it’s coming much faster than you think.