04.5-How to take full advantage of a multi-technology environment incorporating Microsoft, Google and Apple products-2016-06-03

On this website, I often repeated that the largest information technology (PCs, tablets and smartphones) investment that anyone makes is the time and effort one put in learning and becoming proficient in the use of these technologies. This continues to be true!

Until now, I was recommending that individuals avoid using multiple technologies in order to limit their learning investment. This has changed. Since market leaders learn from each other and make available the popular features of one another, we have reached the point where device operations, whether from Apple or Android, have become quite similar and therefore adapting to a different technology has become easier.

The market for smartphones and tablets is now mature. The variety offered continues to grow and prices are falling. Why not take advantage of this?

The object of this article is to present what you need to do to take full advantage of a multi-technology environment, involving Microsoft, Google and Apple products, while avoiding the pitfalls.

How to avoid problems and even total chaos?

This article complements article 04.4–How to simplify your multi devices computing environment (PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, …) – 2016-03-29. You must read both in parallel.

No one should venture into a multi-technology environment without preparation because it can become a nightmare.

Each technology, developed by either Microsoft, Google or Apple, has been developed according to the company’s market approach:

  1. Apple has a closed technology approach. This means that Apple develops its own products in an effort to keep its customers captive and be their sole supplier. This allows Apple to sell more expensive products and make lots of profits. Due to their client’s investments to master the Apple products they own, most Apple users feel they have no choice but to limit themselves to Apple products and pay the price. This does not bother affluent users.
  2. Google has an open technology approach. Unlike Apple, Google’s Android operating system is “Open Source”, and Google makes it available to equipment manufacturers who want to use it and adapt it to their products. It is therefore not surprising that many manufacturers use Google products and this is why we find a wide selection of Android products to fit all budgets. These products answer the needs of the masses.
  3. Microsoft has an open market approach. This means that Microsoft makes its Windows operating system available to all manufacturers who want to use it. This is why there is a wide range of computers using Windows. With the large volume, this is also why Windows PCs are generally less expensive than comparable Apple products.

Market standards from market leaders

Windows Office (Word, Excel, Power Point) and Skype

Microsoft has dominated the Windows PC market, both for personal and business use, for decades. Some Microsoft products, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, are dominant because almost everyone who has worked with Windows PCs knows or master their operation. Also, following its Skype acquisition, Microsoft now dominates the video telephone communication market over the internet.

Google Gmail, Contacts and Calendar

Google is the undisputed market leader of the email, contacts and calendar Apps. For more information on these products visit: 07.4-Google’s recent Gmail, Contacts and Calendars updates offer unsurpassed functionality and ease of use for multi device users. -2015-04-02.

Dropbox

Dropbox is the best and most versatile Cloud Service I know. For more information on Cloud Services and Dropbox please read: 06.03 – Cloud services – Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive – 2012-12-25.

Facebook

Facebook is the undisputed market leader of social networks.

iPhone and iPad

Apple is the undisputed leader in the high range smartphones and tablets segment with its iPhone and iPads.

Market leaders

VERY IMPORTANT: To be and remain a market leader, a Company must simplify the acquisition and adoption of its products by a majority of potential clients, otherwise it will not remain a leader for long. To expand the market for their products, computer companies must make them usable on the largest possible number of available products, including their competitors’ products. This is exactly what Google and Microsoft are doing by making their products available on the Android, Apple and Windows technology platforms. This represent almost the entire market.

Meanwhile, Apple, constraint by its closed technology approach, adopts the only way out which is to facilitate the use of its competitors’ technologies on its products to avoid losing customers who would be attracted away by the other market leaders, such as Google and Microsoft. This is a double edge sword for Apple, but it’s very good for us the users. The ability to use the leading competing technologies on Apple products opens the door for technology independence, as promoted in this article. Apple users may also feel less locked in after reading this article.

Office (Word, Excel, Power Point)

The Microsoft Office products: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook are now available on Apple and Android platforms, in addition to Windows.

Google Gmail, Contacts and Calendar

The Google Gmail, Contacts and Calendar products work on all technology platforms, including Apple, Android, Chrome and Windows products.

Dropbox and Facebook

Dropbox and Facebook also work on all technology platforms.

The approach to implement to simplify your multi-technology environment

The rules presented in the following paragraphs are PARAMOUNT if you wish to avoid the potential obstacles of a multi-technology environment.

Furthermore, if you follow these rules to the letter, you will be able to easily transition from one technology to another without pitfalls. For example, switch from an expensive iPhone to an inexpensive high quality Android smartphone, such as the Huawei Honor 5X. You will no longer need to feel tied and limited to expensive products from one manufacturer!

For example, you will be able to use an iPad and an Android smartphone without synchronization pitfalls between them. This is my wife’s current technology environment after her recent acquisition of a Huawei Honor 5X smartphone. Having followed the rules described below, she activated Gmail on her new smartphone for all Gmail’s emails and Contacts and Google Calendar content to become instantly accessible on her new smartphone and remained synchronized at all times between the two devices.

The most important element is to adopt and ONLY use the multiplatform products of the market leaders. Those presented in this article.

You must ONLY use Microsoft’s the current multiplatform Office products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for any office type work on ALL your-technology platforms: Apple (iPhone, iPad and MacBook, …), Android smartphones and tablets, and on Windows PCs. I highly recommend that you store all your files and data on the Dropbox cloud. Read article 04.4–How to simplify your multi devices computing environment (PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, …) – 2016-03-29 to convince yourself. This is the ideal approach, in my opinion, to be able to access and edit any of your files on any products stated above. You will not have to worry about synchronizing anything and you will become able to switch from one technology to another seamlessly.

Furthermore, you must ONLY use the current Google Gmail, Contacts and Calendar products on ALL your technology platforms: Apple (iPhone, iPad and MacBook, …), Android smartphones and tablets, and on Windows PCs. Also, if you store all your files and data on the Dropbox cloud, you’ll be able to access and edit all your files on any of the products stated earlier. You will not have to worry about synchronizing anything and will be able to switch from one technology to another seamlessly. THIS IS ALL! But you MUST adhere to the rules described herein for this to work harmoniously!

What does it imply?

The first and most important action to take, if you do not already have a Google account, is to open a Google account at https://accounts.google.com/signup. You will, at the same time, get a Gmail address that incorporates Contacts and can start using Google Calendar and other Google Apps.

If you wish to continue using your current non-Gmail email address, you will need to go into your current non-Gmail email account and enable the automatic transfer of your emails to your Gmail address.

Gmail Settings

Once your Google Account is opened, open Gmail, click the tractor wheel at the top right and then click Settings. Then select the “Accounts and Import” tab above.

You can then:

  1. Change your Gmail account settings.
  2. Import your email and contacts to Gmail.
  3. Send emails using different email addresses.
  4. Transfer emails from other accounts into Gmail.

In other words, you’ll be able to set everything you need to start using ONLY Gmail, Contacts and Calendar from Google.

Once done, you MUST stop using any none Google Mail, Contact and Calendar App that come preinstalled on smartphones or tablets. These are usually the supplier’s Apps and not Google/Gmail.

IPhones, iPads and MacBook

  1. You no longer use the Apple Mail App (the icon with a blue background with a white envelope). You only use the Gmail App (the icon with white background and a red M on an envelope).
  2. Once all your contacts are transferred into Google Contacts, you configure the Apple Contacts App (the icon with a gray background, a person silhouette, and A, B, C, D on the left) as follow: once the Apple Contacts App is opened, select “Groups” on the top left. Make sure that only Gmail (all) has a check mark. No check mark for iCloud (all).
  3. Once your calendars are transferred to Google Calendar, you configure the Apple Calendars App (the white icon with the day in red and a black date) as follows: once the Apple Calendars App is opened, choose “Calendars” at the bottom center. Be sure to only check the items in Gmail. Do not check items in iCloud.

Once everything is completed, only the information in the Google Gmail, Contacts and Calendar Apps will appear on your Apple devices configured as stated above. When you change anything within these Google Apps, all the information will automatically become available on all your other devices, regardless of the technology, automatically and almost instantaneously.

On Android smartphones and tablets

  1. You no longer use the Mail App that come pre-installed on these devices, unless it happens to be Gmail (the icon with white background and a red M on an envelope). You only use the Gmail App.
  2. Make sure that the Contacts App (the icon with brown background with the silhouette of a person) is configured to contain all and only your Gmail contacts.
  3. In Settings / General / Default applications: Make sure that only Gmail is enabled by default for email, contacts and calendars.
  4. In Settings / General / Accounts: Make sure that only Google is activated with regards to your email, contacts and calendars.

Once everything is completed, only the information in the Google Gmail, Contacts and Calendar Apps should be activated. When you change anything within these Apps, all the information will automatically become available on all your other devices, regardless of the technology, automatically and almost instantaneously.

On PCs running Windows

On all PCs running Windows, you only need to access Gmail within your web browser (Chrome is my preferred browser) at https://mail.google.com/.

Please, read the following articles to learn more about the Google products you may need to use: 07.2 – The Google Universe-2013-06-24,  07.1–How to configure Gmail?-2012/01/19, and 07.4-Google’s recent Gmail, Contacts and Calendars updates offer unsurpassed functionality and ease of use for multi device users. -2015-04-02.

CONCLUSION

Once you have completed the above recommended transition and are ONLY using the recommended multiplatform products from market leaders:

  1. You will end up with a simple to understand and operate technology environment;
  2. You will no longer be constrained to using only one vendor’s products. This will allow you to take advantage of new powerful and inexpensive products entering the market;
  3. You will know where all your data is on Google’s Gmail, Contacts and Calendar and the Dropbox cloud. You will have direct access to this data as required and it will automatically be saved without you to worry about it;
  4. Finally, you will become the master of your own destiny and technology environment, rather than being at the mercy of any single supplier.

Trust me! The above benefits are worth the effort!