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Virtual Reality: The Next Computing Platform (part 2 of 3)

The iPhone would revolutionize the world and establish smartphones as the next computing platform because of all the abilities, features and convenience embedded on a small device. It allowed entire industries to be built such as Uber: an evolution to taxi cabs. Newer models with faster processors and a more polished mobile OS, and an ever growing availability of apps quickly made iPhone and other (largely Android based) smartphones the computing device of choice for most people. Shortly after, Apple introduced the iPad and tablets complemented the mobile industry with larger screens for those who wanted the portability of a mobile device and didn’t need the horsepower of a desktop or laptop computer.

In less than 10 years since the iPhone was introduced, mobile devices surpassed PCs both in the number of sales as well as usage.

Mobile internet usage surpasses desktop usage for the first time in history

The mobile industry opened up a new paradigm for opportunities and job creation. Many developers earned a fortune by developing a successful mobile app for the iPhone or Android. Uber, just as an example, has a valuation of over 50 billion dollars. Uber is one of many companies born out of the mobile industry, and which can only function [currently] with the use of mobile devices.

Today, the mobile industry is practically saturated. There’s not a mobile app that anyone can build that likely hasn’t been built before. Much like the PC industry got saturated when it came to client apps, it’s not far from the truth to say that all revolutionary mobile apps that could have been developed have already been done.

Should we choose, for any reason, to abandon our smartphones and go back to using desktop and laptop PCs, companies like Uber would cease to exist. But we’re not going back in terms of our evolution of computing platforms. We are going forward for sure. Which brings the question, “what is the next computing platform after mobile devices?”

I have been asking this question for a long time. And in year 2013 I came up with an answer that I believe to be correct: It will be Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

At the moment, we tend to distinguish VR from AR as if they are very different technologies. But they are actually very similar. Any developer who has the skills to develop an app for VR can develop for AR and vice-versa. In the next articles I’ll be elaborating on what it takes to develop for VR/AR, where VR/AR technology is today, what it offers, and where it’s going.

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