What happened to tablets talking to phones?


via www.smarttabphones.com

Way back in February 2011, HP walked onto the stage at their big WebOS announcement and took the wraps off three devices - two phones, and one tablet. The hook was, if you buy a WebOS phone and a WebOS tablet, the two will interact in ways which make your life easier. Got a text but you're using your tablet? Your message will pop up on the tablet, ready for you to respond without having to drag your phone out, the exact same was promised with phone calls. To this day, we have no idea if this functionality worked as nobody seemed insane enough to buy both a phone and tablet from HP.

Still, it raises the question, why doesn't my Android phone talk to my Android tablet? They both run the exact same operating system, they're both on the same network (either wi-fi or tethered), hell, they could even do it via bluetooth, so why don't they? It's exactly the same deal with Apple, they've got the iPhone, iPad and whole suite of laptops and desktops - why can't they interact with each other? Surely, the ideal isn't having to jump from device to device to get basic things done, but to have those basic tasks offloaded onto whatever device you're using at the moment?

Naturally, there are ways to get this kind of functionality, MightyText for Android and Chrome lets you compose, send and receive texts on either your tablet or in your browser, but it still feels hacky and lacking the polish of a consumer grade product. If you spend a day sat at your PC working, responding to texts when they pop up in your browser, when you go to look at your phone later on, those texts you already responded to will still be marked as unread. Minor, but frustrating.

The simple truth is this, if companies want you to buy into a ecosystem (and they all want you to buy into an ecosystem) then why don't they offer you increased functionality as a consequence of that? Against all the odds, HP understood that idea, I only wonder why nobody else has.