Thursday, July 16, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #63: The Cloud and Personal Computer Stratification

As I type this on my netbook, I am excited about the future of small, Web-ready, personal computers. In other words, I am optimistic that Google Chrome OS can shake up the personal computer platform market. If Google can succeed, then this might be the end of one-box multitasking PCs and the beginning of some sort of user stratification:

1. Cloud/Web-ready portable computers. This seems to be the most democratizing class in a potential redefined personal computer market. From uber-smart phones to netbooks to efficient laptops, this type of computer is for people constantly on the go and must have constant connections. Email, social networking, spreadsheet/word processing, and light A/V entertainment (YouTube video authoring, too) would be covered by these lightweight PCs - and not much else. If Google Chrome OS does well, it will dominate this market. (Of course there is room for the iPhone OS here, too.)

2. Gaming desktop computers. If Google Chrome OS destroys Windows as the geek-pundits hype-fully anticipate, then Microsoft's OS would be relegated to the PC gaming niche (along with choice titles also ported to Apple OS X). This arrangement of installed games will last until it is reasonable, fashionable, and more profitable to have games in the cloud, too. Heavy multimedia PCs (media center computers) probably belong in this category, too.

3. Educational notebook computers. For decades, Apple has been providing good deals on its hardware when it comes to PCs for educational use. The uniform standardization of hardware and software with Apple products will continue to be a mainstay in classroom education, and the cloud will slowly get there - I anticipate. And when school's out, students will probably treat these moderately-spec'd Macs as Web computers.

4. Mostly offline, workstation-class, desktop computers. This final, pricey class of computers are for people who need a lot of computing power to get stuff done - whether it is the Adobe Creative Suite on a multi-core Mac Pro or an Avid editing bay on a HP Workstation or a supercomputer that will contact aliens. It would be a waste to use this sort of resource just to Facebook or to play an MMORPG. Desktops are not en vogue right now, since they tether users to a singular location. Fortunately, a lot of users on the go will be able to remotely communicate with their workstations using a smart phone PC or a netbook, to get some work done.

Anyhow, that's how I feel the PC landscape will look like if Google's OS succeeds. (And yes, I might have just described how computer users vary today.) It seems to be a win-win situation for many to not be burdened with a portable multitasker (heavy-spec laptop) that holds all their proverbial eggs in one basket. It might be a safer option to have a beast of a machine in a main office and possibly a lightweight machine that can access and harness the centralized beast.

In any case, that's my plan.

1 comment:

  1. Win7 is shaping up to be a killer version of Windows, finally. You can bet that everyone over at Google is running Windows or Mac, and they all have their favorites. Even still, I think there's room for a third contender. Linux isn't really a third entity... but, perhaps gOS will put it on the map. MacOS X Snow Leopard looks to be quite cool -- looking forward to that injecting some much un-needed super power into my Mac Pro. Oddly enough, I do surf Facebook on my Mac Pro sometimes... haha. But, on the other side of the room is my Windows PC, which for now runs Vista SP2 (actually a great version of the OS now), but soon to host Win7, which will be even better. Heck, perhaps I'll dual boot GoogleOS once it's released. There's no harm, and I'm sure it'll be fun to play with.

    In other news, not sure if you saw this Ryan, but Gates talked about GoogleOS in a CNET interview and came out sounding like a cry baby. It's funny... of course he has a point about having multiple versions of an operating system out there. GoogleOS and Android co-existing seems to be problematic, especially given that there seems to be some system application overlap. Android covers mobile to Netbook devices, and GoogleOS will cover Netbook devices to fully fledged desktop PCs. What gives? I predict an eventual convergence. Hopefully.


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