You know, this month has been pretty crazy when you consider new operating system announcements. Microsoft is set to release its developer preview of Windows 8 during Mobile World Congress at the end of this month, and Apple just announced its developer preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Meanwhile, Google's "operating system" is basically the Google homepage: from there, you can access your email, social networks, documents, and any information you'd ever need to know.
All three big players in the mobile space offer apps and services across traditional desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. Apple has iCloud, Microsoft has its Windows Marketplace and Live services, and Google has its Google apps. As of right now, most of these can be used across all devices (with the exception of Apple's "Find my iDevice") but you get the absolute best experience when you combine the service with the respective company's products.
Read on to find out why I think now is the perfect time to pick an ecosystem.
Things are certainly changing. Let's take Mountain Lion, for example. Apple baked in Reminders and Notes from iOS directly into its Top Cat so all of your notes can be seamlessly synced between iPhone but your Windows 8 tablet will be left out of that fun, just like it will be for the rest of Apple's new syncing options.
Another example is Microsoft Office. Aside from a few crummy third-party options, there is no way to edit Office documents on your iPhone or Android phone. The only platform with Office integration is Windows Phone.
Now, Google is the one company that seems to not care what operating system you use, as long as you're using its services. I suspect that's why the search giant hasn't created its own true desktop OS: it's already raking in a huge amount of cash regardless of what OS you're using, so what's the point?
It all comes down to what services you're using. If you're a huge Microsoft Office junkie, the obvious choice is a Windows 8 PC and a Windows Phone. But if you've got a 5,000 song collection in your iTunes music folder and take a ton of notes, maybe the iPhone and an iMac would suit you the best. And if you use everything under the sun? An Android tablet with an iPhone on the go, synced with a Windows 8 PC, would likely be your best option.
In any case, I believe that now is the time to look at every feature of every platform and decide what you want. We're getting closer to a completely connected computing life, wherein everything that you do on one device is instantly updated on your other devices. What will be the most interesting thing about all of this is what each company will offer for loyal users of each of their products.
So, as a final question: have you picked your ecosystem yet?