For any of you with an iDevice (and we're guessing that's a lot) you will probably be familiar with iMessage, the built in messaging app that comes with nearly all Apple products. Fairly solid service. However, somewhat like a spoilt child (or a multi-national, billion dollar enterprise) iMessage will not play nicely with any other messaging service or operating system. So if you have a friend who dares not to possess a Cupertino necessity, you may have to text them (remember texts) or, deep breath, talk to them.
There are, of course, perfectly viable alternatives. WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Kik, MessageMe, Line, Voxer, BBM - take your pick, all of which have the major advantage of being cross-platform. Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, even Nokia (I never thought I'd say 'even Nokia'), you can communicate regardless of the device. Let's do that exercise again. Take a photograph on your iPhone, share it via Photo Stream and your iPad will be delighted. If your Windows Phone owning friend wants a copy though, they are out of luck. Be disloyal and auto-upload to Dropbox however and go share-crazy.
Another approach is one that many of us here at Estuary favour. One of us has an iPad as their tablet of choice and an Android device as their phone. On the odd occasion when a must-have app is only released on one platform, we're covered. We have recently written some apps and are ready to test them on both major platforms. The same principle applies to desktop computers. Microsoft Windows will run on an Apple Mac much easier than OSX, Apple's operating system, will run on a PC. So owning a Mac, although an expensive proposition, allows you to get the best (relatively speaking) of both worlds.
There are no perfect answers when it comes to owning tech and the product simply does not exist that will single-handedly do everything you want it to all the time. Still, some judicious purchasing will cover a lot of eventualities.
Done. (How bracket-tastic was that post?!)