True cloud computing?

Windows 365, your operating system in the cloud.

Tim Wells

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What if your computer became a thin client for an operating system in the cloud and you paid a subscription to use it on top of buying the hardware? It’s not really a surprise that this is where it’s been heading, with cloud gaming and so on making AAA games available to mobiles and computers without needing the users computer to have super powered hardware it would otherwise require.

It was only a matter of time before it went the same way for operating systems as well.

I mean, the popularity of Chromebooks seems to have surged in the past couple of years. A low powered device with a good long battery life and a simple to use OS that stores all your data in the cloud instead of on the device (or as well as).

Even Microsoft does it these days when you sign into a new Windows 11 laptop using your Microsoft account then chances are it’s automatically storing your documents and such to their OneDrive service.

But their intention seems to be to push towards having the device be a thin client to the OS which is streamed to the device from the cloud. This provides some advantages:

  • device independence (mobiles, tablets, laptops, desktops all running the same instance of Windows with the same data)
  • Lower cost hardware for consumers (which is good because you’ll likely be paying a subscription to be able to actually use it)
  • No more lost data due to hardware failures

I’m sure there would be more. With some potential downsides as well, such as needing data all the time. (But with mobile data speeds and affordability these days it might not be that much of an issue.) I’m sure they would have to have a way for it to be usable offline as well.

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I would like to have a smartphone device, that has decently powerful hardware in it, that becomes a fully usable PC when I sit at my desk and “dock” the device. So I can use my dual monitors, keyboard and mouse and so on in a PC suitable user interface with all the data I need being stored on the device (with a cloud backup). Then, when I go out, I un-dock the device and take it with me. All my data is there and…

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Tim Wells

Self taught software developer and photographer.