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No. 5: Meet the “Cloud Computer”
A husband and wife team from Australia are taking on the big boys with their new “cloud computing era” PC dubbed the new Hot-E PC. Their website’s new tag line says: “Word is…the enterprise is getting smaller.”
That statement is an interesting notion. Cloud computing means essentially for both big and small companies part or all of their computing takes place out on the cloud (on the Net). If you use a product like Basecamp, by 37signals, for instance, you are doing some cloud computing. The application is delivered as a service (software as a service or SaaS for short). Google’s Calendar is clouding computing.
Why does a Cloud Computer get to be small? Because Cloud Computing is Internet-based computing. This means you access your data out on the Net (Cloud), you keep it there on a server. Control of that information takes place via an application delivered through, commonly but not exclusively, a Web browser. This means applications and data are stored on servers, thus a product like the Hot-E PC can forego a typical hard drive. It doesn’t need a CD-ROM drive either. It only needs to get you onto the Net.
Innards of the Hot-E PC
- ARM processor
- Silicon Motion GPU (1024×768 x 16 bit)
- SDRAM – 64MB
- Flash – 8MB
- Ethernet (of course…)
- USB 1 and USB 2 ports
- Linux or FreeBSD operating systems (MS WinCE future option)
As cloud computing gains steam — and it most certainly will — it will be interesting to watch how Apple reacts to this trend as compared to its main rivals. Could the Mac mini become more of a cloud computing device? What about AppleTV?