I came across a fascinating article yesterday morning…so fascinating that I needed a fair bit of time to put all my thoughts together in a (semi) coherent fashion.
It was an article on Microsoft’s website about thin clients and cloud computing. The first sentence of the article cracked me up:
While not a new concept, thin computing is finally poised to take-off in a meaningful way.
No, thin clients are certainly not a new concept. They’ve been around for at least ten years….and if you think back to the good old days of the VAX (now I’m dating myself), “dumb” terminals have been around for ages!
Scroll down the article and there’s this other gem:
There’s also a rapidly growing need to fulfill specialized work functions where thin clients are an attractive alternative to higher cost and more full function solutions. Think about environments where task workers – a retail salesperson, nurse or manufacturing floor manager – need access to a limited number of web-based or single-function applications.
Totally agreed….but why should I pay $500 for what is basically a dumb terminal with no screen? Look at the specs of the machine….it’s got a 1.6 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, 4 GB of storage…but it does have “the WiFis” (check out the video at 1:40) of the 802.11 a/b/g/n variety.
Aren’t these specs pretty similar to what you can get from the latest crop of smartphones? And hence when the dim light turned on over my head.
The mobile device will become the thin client for cloud computing. Heck, I could even get cheezy and say that the smartphone will become the dumb terminal. But do you see where my mind is headed?
More and more apps and services are headed to the cloud. Do all the heavy computing in your PaaS/SaaS environment and display the data on your smartphone or tablet and bring it to the user via a rich/native user experience. The data can reside wherever you want….either on prem or in the cloud, with only the bare minimum living in your device of choice. This applies to both personal and corporate information. Need a bigger screen? Just dock your smartphone or tablet (even with a HDMI cable) to your desktop screen and voila, you are now hoteling like the best road warriors out there.
That almost deserves a Keanu Reeves moment
And then, I stumbled upon this fantastic article at The Wall Street Journal. It’s all about the convergence of the cloud and mobile applications. One important note in that article is that the mobile cloud is going to drive data traffic (and presumably data costs) through the roof!
So does the smartphone become the next thin client? Who knows. It makes a lot of sense to me, but as we know, a lot can change in the next couple of years that could make that vision look (in hindsight) antiquated.
What do you think? Is the mobile device the next thin client?