As I predicted for 2011, the cloud will be the ultimate powerhouse for mobile devices. The reason is simple: although fancy and stylish, the mobile devices typically do not have enough computing power and storage space for certain applications.
While reading BusinessWeek magazine not long ago, I got to know that a company called Elemental Technologies in Portland Oregon is spearheading in that direction. The company develops a box that trans-codes videos to fit receivers’ seen size, resolution, OS, plug-ins, etc, which total up to 250 technological formats. According to the article, the company “plans to introduce a cloud based product so that smaller websites can use its technology without having their own datacenters or owing a video processing box outright.” That makes a lot of senses both technically and business wise.
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Video processing is a great example that takes advantages of the computing power of the cloud. There are other domains as well.
I have a friend who ran a company who develops setup boxes (they don’t move as mobile phones but have similar limitations). To save cost, they want to use commodity CPUs in their setup boxes. But they still want their users to play advanced games that require significant amount of computing power. They finally decided to use servers back in their datacenters for computing and render the screen to users’ TVs.
If it sounds a little abstract, think it as another version of remote desktop where setup box is a thin client remotely connected to a desktop running at the back. By doing so, they can achieve significant advantages with lowered setup box prices and flexibility in upgrading their computing power in datacenter alone.
I am sure there are many more interesting examples you may know of. Please feel free to share them in comments.