If you haven’t heard of the ‘cloud’ recently then you must have been living with your head under a rock. The cloud is a buzz word in the tech industry and one that many people seem very excited about. At the same time it’s something that people are now starting to actually see in practice with applications such as Dropbox and iCloud. However while software is starting to take advantage of the cloud, it is hardware that will truly benefit from it, and this lead me to set up a small experiment of my own. Here’s how I managed to get Crysis 2 to play on my old Android phone.
The idea behind the cloud is simple. It means basically that things aren’t actually stored on your physical device. If you have a computer then you can opt to save yourself hard disk space by saving things onto a server instead of your hard drive, and you can then stream the music live from there by logging in. Apple not so long ago bought the domain ‘iCloud’ and then started using this to allow Mac and iPad users to save all their music files remotely. What this resulted in was the ability to listen to their tunes from any device without having to transfer the files and without having to take up any space on the hard drive. Non Mac owners similarly have been benefiting from something similar with the app Dropbox which provides a single online folder that you can share between devices.
In some ways all apps are an example of the Cloud. They can all be downloaded so quickly that there is almost no need to keep them installed on your phone at all. When you need to find your car or the nearest cash point there’s an app just waiting for you there in cyberspace to be used giving your phone almost infinite functionality.
But the true use of the cloud will come as connection speeds increase and as the ubiquity of internet connections increases. When this happens we will start to see people not downloading the apps at all, but rather using them as web apps where it’s not even their computer doing the processing.
My Cloud Device
To demonstrate this I set up an experiment. Using two phones and my PC I installed two apps – a camera app that would allow me to view the monitor of my computer, and a ‘remote keyboard app’ on the other phone that would allow me to control the keyboard.
In other words then on one phone (a Dell Streak) I was looking at the monitor of my PC, and on the other phone (a Galaxy Note) I had a big keyboard and a touch pad. I then loaded up Crysis 2 on the PC – went into the other room from where I could view the action on the Dell Streak and control it with the Note. Admittedly the frame rate and responsiveness was poor… it wasn’t exactly fun… but I did this on my own with very little tech experience and without spending a penny. Imagine what a big corporation could accomplish in a few years.
Of course the processing power, graphics cards, RAM etc etc were nowhere near enough to play that game on either phone, but yet here it was.
So you can see where the future might lead us in the next couple of years. We will end up with razor thin devices that are practically hollow – they don’t need a big hard drive, a fast CPU, barely any memory… and so they’ll actually be cheap too. All they need is a great connection and connectivity to a device that is powerful enough and from here they will be able to do literally anything the most powerful computer will be able to. So yes, the cloud is something you need to keep an eye on.
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