For a while now, the buzz around Windows 8 was that it would be more of a cloud OS than the traditional model. Its core would still remain locked on the local drive and experience, but many programs are rumored to rely heavily on connecting to the ever-present cloud. Unfortunately, the cloud isn’t always there for everyone.
One reason I like services like Dropbox and Steam is though they benefit from a consistent connection to the web, you’re not completely locked out of your files if the connection goes down. Sure, some games sold on Steam independently enforce that kind of ridiculous DRM, but it isn’t a universal requirement. I shouldn’t be required to have a connection to enjoy what’s mine.
If you move this to the OS and its core programs, you’ve got a machine that has great features you may not be able to take full advantage of. It makes sense that computing is heading to an era where mobile devices have the power only desktop units had just years ago. This shouldn’t mean that we need to have one OS for both platforms. What’s the point of putting a PC operating system on what Steve Jobs called a “Post-PC” device?
Google’s Chrome OS is a prime example of the kind of operating system that could very well frustrate anyone that tries to do anything without an active connection. Even with 3G and 4G connectivity, a bad signal can render your machine useless very quickly. While this may be fine with one group of users, it will likely destroy the experience for many others.
While I like the idea of an operating system that runs on absolutely crummy hardware fairly efficiently, aren’t we constantly speeding up processors and increasing the size of hard drives? Will a cloud OS be necessary even a year from now when low-powered processors are powerful enough to handle more? I think this is one early adopter experience I’m glad I haven’t dived in to.
Comments are absolutely encouraged. Please share your thoughts on the subject below.