January 27, 2009

The Pre And The Cloud And You #4

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 12:29 pm


The Future of the Desktop is a very interesting post that’s relevant to the Palm Pre and what it’s attempting to achieve as a device.

Here are some bits that stand out:

Is the desktop of the future going to just be a web-hosted version of the same old-fashioned desktop metaphors we have today?

No. There have already been several attempts at copying the old-fashioned “files and folders” desktop interface to the Web, but they have not caught on. Imitations desktops to-date have simply been clunky and slow imitations of the real-thing at best. Others have been overly slick. But one thing they all have in common: None of them have nailed it. People don’t want to manage all their information on the Web in the same interface they use to manage data and apps on their local PC. The Web is an entirely different medium than the desktop and it requires a new kind of interface. The desktop of the future – what some have called “the Webtop” – still has yet to be invented.

Emphasis added by me.

The Card interface Palm has created is a different way of interacting with applications and information. A good first step.

I don’t want to extract too much from the post — you should go there and read all of it — but this is also relevant:

The painful process of using synchronization utilities to keep data on our different devices in-synch will finally be a thing of the past. Similarly an entire class of applications for remote-PC access will also become extinct. Instead, all devices will synch with the cloud, where your applications, data and desktop workspace state will live as a unified, hosted service. Your desktop will appear on whatever device you login to, just as you left it wherever you last accessed it. This shift harkens back to previous attempts to revive thin-client computing – such as Sun Microsystems’ Java Desktop – but this time it is going to actually become mainstream.

Emphasis added by me.

And this ties into what I brought up yesterday:

The Portable Desktop
The underlying data in the future desktop, and in all associated services it connects, will be represented using open-standard data formats. Not only will the data be open, but the semantics of the data – the schema that defines it – will also be defined in an open way. The value of open linked-data and open semantics is that data will not be held prisoner anywhere: it will be portable and will be easy to integrate with other data. The emerging Semantic Web and Data Portability initiatives provide a good set of open standards for enabling this to happen.

Due to open-standards and data-portability, your desktop and data will be free from “platform lock-in.” This means that your Webtop might even be portable to a different competing Webtop provider someday. If and when that becomes possible, how will Webtop providers compete to add value?

Emphasis added by me.

There’s much more there. Talk of a “personal cloud,” federated semantic systems, and even the term “WebOS” (as distinct from “Palm webOS,” but it indicates clearly Palm’s aims!).


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