This is the second post in our series on why the client matters in the cloud. Through extensive testing rooted in user experience, we are teasing out the differences in cloud-based software functionality and performance across multiple mobile devices and platforms. (click here to read the first post).

Our findings in these projects directly challenge some unspoken assumptions about mobile devices and how they are used.

For example, we can infer some manufacturers’ assumptions from their device design. Small screens and the lack of a keyboard reveal the assumption that mobile devices are meant primarily to consume content, not produce it. When software or platforms do not support local file storage, this design decision reflects assumptions about how users collaborate–always with a cloud service between colleagues.

Platform Matters with Microsoft OneNote

We recently finished one such study on Microsoft OneNote. We examined the following OneNote versions on the devices listed:
OneNote Versions

  • OneNote web app
  • OneNote 2013
  • OneNote 2013 RT
  • OneNote mobile app for iOS
  • OneNote mobile app for Android

Mobile Devices

  • Dell XPS 12 (Intel processor and Windows 8)
  • Microsoft Surface RT (ARM architecture and Windows RT)
  • Apple iPad 4 (ARM-based architecture and iOS 6)
  • Lenovo IdeaTab (ARM architecture and Android 4.2.2)

OneNote Test Results

We found that a business user can access and read notes with OneNote equally well with any version on any supported platform.

In other words, when it comes to consuming content, the implicit assumptions specified above hold true.

But that is also the limit of the assumptions. Do your OneNote users intend to just read notes? Or is it likely that they will want to create notes too?

Our comparison shows that the Intel and Windows 8 device is better suited than other compared platforms for content creation and business use. For example, only a Windows device powered by Intel architecture provides the full OneNote feature set, including:

  • Ability to record audio and video notes directly from the application
  • Ability to search within audio and video
  • Support for an attached scanner to easily import scans into OneNote
  • Ability to expand OneNote functionality with add-ins

So the client matters with OneNote. It matters a lot.

If you choose a mobile device for your business users without challenging the assumptions about tablet use, you could unintentionally shackle a user’s ability to be productive. Only the full desktop version of OneNote running on Windows with Intel architecture supports all of the OneNote features, giving users more ways to create and share content.

Click here to see full results in our OneNote comparison paper and click here for the infographic.

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