Brown’s Bytes – The Mobile Only Challenge: Week 4 Update


23rd February 2018

I’ve cracked! I’m writing this update on my Surface Pro. Read on to find out why and get my thoughts on the experience of working Mobile Only.


There has been a building frustration with working Mobile Only that I alluded to last week.

What I found was that when I was in the office, I could work fine using the DeX Station with my phone docked and when I was on the move I continued to use my phone as before.

However, there is a 3rd use case that the DeX Solution doesn’t resolve and that is what I class as “Out of Office”. The classic example being that I’m on a train and trying to get on with office work such as a spreadsheet. With a Surface Pro I had sufficient screen real estate to carry on as normal, but when the only tool you have available is a smartphone I found that simply wasn’t up to the task.

When on the move, pinching and zooming around on a spreadsheet is ok when you’re just looking around for a bit of information, but it really doesn’t work if you’re trying to get you head down working on the big spreadsheet.

This “in-between” requirement was something I had really overlooked when launching on this journey. I started to notice that I had driven a change in my behaviour. I would store up this kind of work for when I could dock my phone again rather than get on with it on the move.

Now ironically there was a solution for this in the past. All the way back in 2011, Motorola had a “Lapdock” for the Atrix phone. If such a thing existed now for my Samsung S8 then I could potentially have had a solution for my Out of Office needs. I’m guessing that this didn’t catch on though for a number of reasons. Most likely that the additional cost of all these extra items starts to quickly erode any cost benefit of converging onto a single device…

So, this was a growing frustration, but it didn’t stop me.

In the end it was hosting a webinar for our customers that drove me back to the world of Windows. I simply hit an issue I couldn’t solve – and it was so close! Although I could join a webinar from my docked phone and even share my desktop from my phone, I couldn’t get my phone to show the slides in anything other than a presenter view. For a webinar with a large number of people watching this wasn’t going to work!!

I therefore fired up the Surface Pro. And then I waited for hours… because it had been off for over 3 weeks it had obviously got a little out of date!! It needed:

  • Windows update
  • Office update
  • Java update
  • Antivirus update
  • Outlook mailbox sync
  • OneDrive sync

Which of course all started updating at the same time and completely slowed the thing down to a crawl for hours and then needed rebooting on top!

Fortunately, I had anticipated this and fired it up the night before just to be sure, but it was a reminder that working on Windows isn’t without its frustrations!

Once I switched back I decided to stay with the Surface Pro. It simply is better for what I need to do (for now).


The whole experience of Mobile Only has been enlightening. It wasn’t the things that you might expect that stopped me, but actually something that would easily be resolved by a tweak in the way the PowerPoint App worked.

From the moment I docked the S8 into the DeX Station for the 1st time I was struck by how close to Windows working it was and I have been genuinely impressed with what can now be achieved with a phone.

In fact, the whole experience is one of it being tantalisingly close to what I needed to work normally. The problem is the small gaps mean you don’t work normally… in fact you work around them and they ultimately change the way you work. There is also a fair bit of tweaking to get some things to work and the odd glitch that mean I would place this solution firmly in the Power User bracket for now.

Finally, the lack of a laptop-like solution is also a deal breaker for now. I know phones are getting bigger and I could have considered switching up to a Note 8 to get a bigger screen, but for work on the move this still isn’t big enough to be the primary device I could use.

Just over 3 weeks isn’t bad though! It’s been fun and informative challenge for me. Hopefully you’ve found this useful also… if you do want to know more about mobile working and how Mobliciti can help companies in this area then please do get in touch.