Although it’s the sort of thing you might not notice if you don’t work in the tech industry, an interesting trend has been developing over the past few years: mobile devices and computer brands are starting to merge together.

To be fair, this is a generalization. There is one tech company (Apple) that is doing a lot to differentiate its products and develop a standalone ecosystem. Take them out of the mix, though, and you’ll notice that a lot of the newer tablets and laptops are more similar than they’ve ever been. They feature almost interchangeable designs, and tend to run the same kinds of software.

It’s enough to wonder: are we moving toward a future where different pieces of technology are going to be interchangeable?

Before we answer that question, let’s look at a few of the details that might make you think that way…

Computer and Device Prices Are Trending Down

Technology is always getting cheaper in the sense that any device or software you buy today will inevitably cost less a year from now. Technology still seems expensive because newer and shinier toys are always being released to keep pace.

But if you exclude Apple once again, it’s easy to see that tech prices as a whole aren’t keeping up with inflation. There is just too much competition out there.

More Devices Are Doing the Same Jobs

Suppose you want to buy new tablets for your team. You could visit a big-box retailer or talk to a wholesale salesperson, but either way you’re going to have plenty of choices. And in most cases the memory, chip speeds, screen resolution, and wireless networking features are going to be very similar.

That’s just one example, but the point is that most devices can be swapped for one another without too many problems.

Devices Are Being Contracted as Services Rather Than Purchases

More and more, companies are investing in computers and devices the same way they do software: as an ongoing subscription. That way, they can have access to the latest and greatest versions of what they need without worrying about big investments and regular upgrade schedules.

This also points to a future where businesses will treat computers and devices like rental cars, opting for the lowest-price model in any particular class or type that will get the job done.

So, What Does the Future Look Like for Devices and Computer Brands?

At the moment, all signs point toward a future where there are only minor differences between specific devices, and cost will be a more important differentiator than a brand name will. However, that could all change for a couple of reasons.

First, we could see a growing number of companies commit to entire ecosystems, like the one Apple has built, that bring features and stability that justify the higher cost. The products might be that much better, or run software that can’t be found on other platforms.

And second, there is always the chance that another company (or several) will make a breakthrough that draws heavy business investment. Think, for example, about the way Intel chips dominated the corporate world for decades. The same thing can happen with computers or mobile devices.

What does all of this mean for you as a business owner or executive? For now, you should be focused on getting your team what they need at the lowest possible price since there aren’t too many big differences from one device manufacturer to the next. But as always, keep your eyes on the horizon so you don’t miss the next big industry shift.

Does Your Company’s IT Strategy Make Sense?

At Fantastic IT we are great at fixing computers, making networks more reliable, and installing software. But even more than that, we help our clients develop cohesive IT strategies and budgets that make them more profitable and productive.

If you could use some help making sense of your IT strategy, then contact a member of our sales team today to schedule a free consultation.