There is little denying that we are living in a world that is on the verge of change. I wrote another blog post today about how Windows 8 could begin a revolution on user interfaces that I compared to the text-OS/GUI-OS transition of the late-80s and early-90s.
The truth is that Windows 8 might be changing things with its touch-centric design, but it remains unseen how relevant this change will be in the long-term.
While Windows 8 is different, it is still a local OS. While Windows 8’s METRO interface brings a more casual and easy-to-use interface to the aging Windows platform, it still can’t be denied that a bigger change is on the way in the next few decades.
Yes, I am talking about the cloud. While it is still uncertain how far off I’m talking about, the changes have already begun.
Windows Azure is a step-stone for a much deeper cloud integration than ever seen before. Even Office 365 has emerged as a cloud-based software suite for basic editing and sharing of files.
In the future Windows might just be a small script that is installed that loads up and directly connects to the online world.
It will look and feel like localized Windows, but all storage is done remotely. If such a system used powerful super-computers than it is possible these workstations wouldn’t need that fast of processors and would only need minimal amounts of flash memory to run.
For those who haven’t heard of it, there is a service called “OnLIVE” which uses the power of the Internet and super-computer servers to stream PC games onto tablets, smartphones, and even a small Micro Console you hook up to the TV.
Such a concept applied to the PC could really change everything. Imagine a PC Workstation box you hook up to a monitor that only costs around $100 but is backed by the processing power of a $1000+ worth of PC computing.
While such a dream is a bit far off, I still think the future of cloud looks bright. Such a cloud system could also mean that the same experience could exist on consoles, phones, tablets, and PCs to such a level we can’t even imagine now.
The downside to such a change to the cloud? For those that have highly sensitive files, the idea of storing everything remotely just isn’t a good one. There are also those of us that are a little weary storing passwords and other data on the net, even if we don’t have anything that important to protect.
There are gamers out there that download all their games, but some of us like a physical copy, the same can apply to the operating system as well.
In order for such highly-integrated cloud technology to really take over the ‘local OS’ market, the Internet would have to improve significantly. As a writer, just the other day I had work assignments due to my various clients but my ISP was updating my server so I couldn’t get the job done.
With a cloud solution like this, your ISP being down would mean you couldn’t use your PC at all.
Of course, a lightweight ‘safety mode’ of future cloud-Windows could exist that allows basic manipulation of programs without the net, but that would somewhat defeat the purpose. What do you think about the push to the cloud?
Is my theory of totally have non-local OSes a reasonable possibility in the next 15-20 years or not? Share your thoughts below.