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A Vision of the Future is here!

January 11, 2011 Technology News, Terablock News Leave a comment

Our Visions

I love this time of the year, its CES time. CES is the Consumer Electronics Show held yearly in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every year the titans of the technology industry get together and show off new products they are excited about. They show off a lot of prototypes, a lot of renders of the future, and actually a lot of products that are released or are going to be released. Think of it as the Frankfurt or Los Angeles auto show for technology. I love CES because I love technology, but I am kind of a technology snob, I love bleeding edge technology, but I also love a great software experience. When you love cutting edge technology you usually do not see the merger of exceptional hardware with exceptional software. It is usually one or the other, so when I pick a new PC, phone, or TV, it has to make sense to me, and it has to provide a good experience.

We’ll CES this year brought us a little gem called the Motorola Atrix 4G, and it is on the bloodiest of the bleeding edge. The Atrix is a device that is far beyond what we are seeing from any other smart phone in any market. It literally is the fastest smart phone to date; it has a set of docking options that allow you to dock your Atrix to your monitor, keyboard, speakers and mouse. It allows you to have a PC like cloud experience on a big screen with input devices like a mouse and keyboard. Kind of like what Google is trying to do with Chrome OS, a complete cloud OS. The Atrix runs 2.2 Android and has a partitioned copy of Linux to power the desktop experience, so it essentially has two operating systems on board, all powered by a NVidia Tegra 2. It allows you to run your smart phones apps in higher resolution; you get all your phones notifications, text, call, email, etc. Watch the video below to describe what the device really does. The drawback on the Atrix is the user experience, and you need that experience to be standardized and polished for it to have mass success. This device gives us a small view of what the future has in store. So why does this device matter? I will explain that shortly.

Motorola – Atrix from CommNexus San Diego on Vimeo.

For me I love devices that lower my gadget carry inventory. For example my HTC Evo 4g has replaced my Canon point and shoot, my FlipHD, Verizon 3G card, voice recorder, MP3 player, etc. It also has replaced a lot of the software inventory I carry around on my laptop. In the past when I was in a jam and needed access to my render machine or server I would fire up my laptop with 3G access and remote into them. Now I do it all through one little app on my Evo. The downfall is the experience. It is sometimes a little slower if I do not have 4G on and it sometimes can lock up. But none the less I am closer to the nirvana of “One device to rule them all”. But I still need to carry my laptop around to do a lot of tasks, which I wish I could do on my smart phone. Sadly we are not quite at that point yet where one device does all, but I will explain how we are very, very, close to having that and it has nothing to do with Apple, Google, or Motorola, and has everything to do with Microsoft.

A lot of the tech pundits are saying Microsoft’s did not make any large consumer related announcements at CES 2011, but I beg to differ.  We all expected multiple Windows tablets and that is what we got. We saw some nice software updates for Kinect and Windows Phone 7, and these were expected as well.  But what was the most interesting to us was that Microsoft talked about something called “System on a Chip”. System on a Chip (SoC) is about software or an OS running on ultra lower power processing units like the NVidia Tegra 2,  the same processing unit powering the Motorola Atrix 4G. But the “System on a Chip” process does this in a much more efficient manner and allows you to power a very robust set of software with very low hardware specifications.  Now on the surface this means nothing to the average consumer, but it actually means a whole heck of a lot once we peel the confusion away. Now that silicone manufacturers are producing what are called APU’s (GPU+CPU=1 chip) it is easier to fit a lot of hardware horsepower in smaller devices like smart phones. Still not getting it? Imagine all your high powered PC software running very fast on your smart phone, simple as that.

Imagine a device that ran one operating system for everything you did. It was your personal computer, your work computer, your total entertainment device, and it packed an extensive list of hardware and software tools that no other PC’s could rival, and it fits in your pocket. One true device to rule them all. Take everything with you, all the time, no more packing your laptop, power cord, etc. Going on a business trip? No need to pack any gear (except maybe a dock), all that power in your pocket. For some it is true science fiction, but we feel like this is the route Microsoft is going and we hope this is what the next version of Windows will give us. Real progress to the cloud, real technology innovation, a new paradigm of computing. It’s the idea of the Motorola Atrix, but polished and backed by the big MSFT. Total access to everything anytime.

We think Google is going to do something similar with Android, but packaging it up with Chrome OS as the desktop experience when the device is docked. Instead of using one OS across the device like we predict Microsoft to do. Google would be essentially using Android plus Chrome OS and some type of software that meshes features, settings and files in one, like the Motorola WebTop app on the Atrix 4G. If Google can pull it off it will be a huge success as well. We feel since Microsoft has such a large enterprise following it is a given that enterprise would adopt an OS and or devices that would create such ease of use for the user base, and CIO’s would love it from a ROI factor. The consumers would love the savings and ease of use as well, but a huge comfort hurdle has to be cleared for consumers first. So it absolutely has to work well!

In the end this is what our vision looks like, is it a pipe dream? We really do not think so. One device to truly do everything your PC does, because isn’t that been the goal since the smart phone market started?  But at the end of the day we have to realize that these companies are corporations, corporations need to make money, and corporate deadlocks are the pitfalls to making this type of innovation real. For instance if MSFT creates something that can do this what does that do to all of the hardware partners that build new PC’s every year, what does this do to software partners as well, can Microsoft turn a blind eye to the companies that do not want to move along with these new innovations? Companies that have supported them and their OS for many years? What does this do to partner peripheral sales?  We hope Microsoft can look past all of those problems and find solutions on every level so innovation prevails at the end of the day. Innovation drives markets, and right now a company is going to have to risk a whole lot to pull it off, we feel Microsoft is ready to do that very thing. If they pull it off technology and the idea of personal computing will be changed forever.

Are you prepared for the future? Are you excited? We are, and we hope Microsoft can be the catalyst that gets us there, and if not we are pretty sure a couple companies down in the Valley will give it a shot.

– Keegan

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