Saturday, December 28, 2013

Convergence vs Cloud

Given the chance to do any of the one, would you go for a convergence device or put all your data on the cloud to be shared between multiple devices? Cell phones might not be really as good at doing the same tasks as PCs but this wont remain the same for long. Cells already do trend to carry as much processing power as you once had on your PC. The only thing left is a good operating system that makes a cell feel like a PC when you need it to be one. This is not far away as well as you will read below. Clouds, however, are quick and free. With your current multiple hardware you are able to sync all kinds of data. This article aims to explore both options for power users who love to consume technology to its limits.

Smart phones do too much: Horizontal divergence after convergence - Two faces of convergence closing in; Personal computers (converging laptops, desktops and netbooks) and mobile (cellphones, smartphones, tablets and touch pads). These two faces of convergence are evolving from PC based operating systems and mobile based operating systems both. But Ubuntu's developers have something else in mind. To derive the mobile operating system from the PC operating system and combine the two closing converging points of focus into one and go for a phone with the heart of a PC. Smart phones do too much and are now diverging back, but this time horizontally, into devices like Pebble, Google glass etc that interface really really well with humans and decrease the complexity of such powerful computing device that we have consequently created.

Ubuntu netbook remix (UNR) tells a great story of convergence on Linux's part for the netbook devices that are converging with desktop and laptop devices on the operating system support side. UNR used the interface from Unity. Now that Ubuntu's newer version have shifted to the same interface, the two versions (of PC and netbook) have been merged to kill two birds with a single arrow. This doesn't mean that Ubuntu is withdrawing support for the netbook users, it just means that the new interface does not waste real estate on smaller screens as well and is optimal for use on both types of computers and hopefully the installation is lighter for the netbooks from the same version or the Lubuntu netbook remix (LNR) is always there to compete as a derivation of Lubuntu (the Lite Ubuntu OS for low spec PCs).

Easy of use and shifting to android is another example of why convergence is dominating... Cloud on the other hand is making it easier to keep multiple devices on even the vertical level but sync them together for use. You can use your desktop computer at the office, laptop at home and netbook on the travel and yet sync all the data you are (some times selectively) syncing there to even your cell phone so that you can always compute, crunch, work, communicate, record, review, play and whatever-else-it-is-that-you-do on the go. Furthermore cloud is also supporting the syncing of mid-work activities. You can sync your browser history and tabs and start of on the same at another device. I'm personally making more use of cloud than convergence (atleast to talk about the conscious usage of devices as we are inevitably using one-in-all cellphones).

Now why will you need to still converge to a single device? I guess lesser cost along with the optimization of devices is favouring convergence but cloud will still keep its place. Reasons can range from the fact that the person does not own the devices at the workplace but does keep the data and the work between the two devices and so on taking it to multiple horizontal levels. On the contrary, how will the usage be affected when you actually only have a single device (like that of a phone running on Ubuntu) that you connect at a large screen-only terminal and later at a speaker only terminal as well as other horizontal devices that do what they do really well rather than being all-in-one to get your high processing speed and live data, settings and the whole box where ever you go?

Whatever we say to justify it, cloud is giving competition to convergence... but the cloud and convergence are both here to stay even with the shifts of paradigms and will serve the best when they complement each other and better yet when they are compliant with the developing horizontal divergence to retain ease for which computers were originally invented for and the developing internet of things. They are both not going away until we have a break through paradigm shift in materials science and engineering which enables our computing devices to morph and travel along with us.

The possibility of morphing computers is more than far away for us yet, but nanotechnology is enabling new possibilities that might slightly affect how convergence and cloud are both going to end up. It is very likely, in near future, to be possible for phones and computer circuits to be embedded as a fabric (like circuitry in a T shirt which feels the same as fabric and doesn't effect or irritate the skin in anyway) as the enabling technologies are developing rapidly and well on the way.

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