Future Of Computing
A new service for students and consumers aims to bring a complete Windows experience on whatever device you own.
The future of computing may not lie in faster processors and larger hard drives. Pretty soon, your computer itself could move to the cloud — easy, affordable, accessible from anywhere and most importantly, from almost any device.
You could stop worrying about what kind of laptop to buy, how to maintain it or worry about how soon it’ll be obsolete. You could carry one device (maybe your existing smartphone) and use it as your go-to device for work, play & travel.
HOW IT WORKS
Nivio can give you the full power (and flexibility) of a Windows 7 environment on just about any PC hardware or even a MAC — all within a web browser — thanks to desktop virtualisation. Your virtual desktop is placed on their servers and you can access it from anywhere, on any machine — the hardware doesn’t matter. You’ll get the same experience on MAC, PC or Linux as long as you have a stable broadband connection (3G, DSL or equivalent).
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PC INDUSTRY
This kind of innovation could be disruptive for the PC industry as a whole. Think about it — currently PC manufacturers are in a tizzy, trying to convince you that their machine is the best, the fastest and the most reliable. But the truth is, in an online world, the amount of gigahertz and gigabytes you have simply doesn’t matter! All the processing and all the number crunching will be done on remote servers.
ACCESS FROM MOBILE DEVICES
Nivio can also offer the full Windows operating system experience on your Android or iOS device. Since Nivio’s service relies on the cloud and not on hardware, you can get the same experience (using a free app) on a portable device. You can also use it on a 2G/EDGE network in an emergency.
AN INTERESTING USE CASE
“The idea is that you could just take your phone, attach a larger screen and a Bluetooth keyboard and it’ll become your desktop” explains Sachin Duggal, co-founder and ‘chief wizard’ of the UK and India-based enterprise. Nivio promises to ‘complete’ your existing device; give it a second life. They want to offer the full functionality of a PC on any device, so that you carry less devices, not multiple devices with each one suited to a different task. Their mission is to make affordable software and content available to anyone, on their fa-MAC vourite devices OS X , anywhere LION in the world.
The advantages of using Nivio are tremendous. We’ve already mentioned that it’s hardware independent. But the other main advantages are affordability, security, freedom from software piracy, and accessibility. In an essence, you’re renting all the software — Windows and whatever other programs you need — instead of buying them outright at high prices. All your files can be online — they offer 10GB of online storage for free with more available for a small fee. “Because the experience is purely utility based — it’s on/off in an instant. You don’t have to install software either; just select it and it’s available” says Sachin. “We’re fairly into the notion of bringing magic back to computing — because the user is subtracted from having to understand how it all works — it just works! This is very similar to other items that a consumer may use – a car, a TV or mobile phone. In a PC, a consumer traditionally has to understand a lot more about how it works, but we want to change that” he added.
Since hardware requirements are minimal, you could have a complete operating system experience on just about any internet connected device, such as a TV, set top box, car A/V system or even a refrigerator! As of last evening, Nivio went live in the United States and will be available for Indian consumers by the end of March this year. To find out more, visit http://in.nivio.com.
A Quick Hands on Since your desktop resides on the cloud, the experience of using Nivio’s nDesktop is pretty similar, whether you access it from an iPhone, iPad or computer. When you login, you see the familiar Windows desktop. A session stays active for 3 hours after you disconnect — which means that if the power goes out, you can reconnect later within 3 hours and everything will be as you left it.
Using it on Mobile Devices On Android and iOS devices, you need an app called Pocket Cloud Pro that connects you to your Nivio nDesktop. Once connected, you’ll get the complete Windows 7 experience, complete with on-screen keyboard and right-click. You can also get the nDrive app that gives you access to your online storage. While the apps will be available on the respective US app stores from today, Indian consumers will get access to the apps (and the corresponding service) only by mid to end March 2012.
Nivio is not the only one to offer cloud computing services. Citrix Systems, a US-based company offers the XenDesktop (a desktop virtualisation service, similar to Nivio’s) for enterprise customers. A similar offering by OnLive offers high resolution video gaming on hardware that was not originally supported. For instance, you could play a full PC game on a MAC or portable Android device. OnLive also offers a basic set top box that connects to your TV with accompanying gaming controller. This device effectively turns your computer into a gaming console. Since all the processing is done at the back end, the end user device just needs a fast internet connection and the ability to play HD video.