In just a few years, we’ll have a lot of compelling alternatives to a running apps on locally on a PC and this will drive a trend similar to what happened to Blockbuster and Netflix.
One of the interesting launches this month was the Blade Shadow PC. This offering out of France seems to provide the best current view of the likely future for desktop computing. It isn’t yet the present for most of us and I’ll get to that, but it showcases what could be done in the cloud albeit with some impressive heavy lifting.
Let’s talk about why we are moving to a cloud based personal computer model, what the Blade Shadow PC (kind of a cool name) currently provides, and where it falls short this week.
The drive for cloud PCs
The issues we all have to currently deal with are hardware migration (when you have to move from an old PC to a new one), software patching and updates, and adequate security in a world where threats are advancing faster than security software. With the current model you own all of this and it is not only annoying it is dangerous. The danger comes from the fact even companies are having trouble keeping up with new security exposures, those of us that work from home are mostly praying we aren’t targeted.
A cloud service would be, in its ultimate form, like Amazon Prime TV for PCs. You pay a subscription, you get a bundled set of apps, and you pay for any extras a la carte. The service upgrades the hardware, does the migrations, handles the patching and updates, and wraps you with enterprise grade security. You also get instant on, a potentially lower power bill, and far more piece of mind.
You can get to your PC experience from your tablet, smartphone, or even TV. And, the service should retain state so regardless of what hardware you use you’ll immediately return to what you were working on regardless of the hardware you use. (At some point you should even be able to bring up your PC desktop on the bid Tesla like display expected on future cars).
Blade Shadow PC
Costing around $420 a year the Blade Shadow PC service provides a dedicated workstation class PC for your remote use. Current support levels provide up to 4K image and some VR support. While the service seems to be targeted at performance gamers it isn’t limited to games and it will run design and engineering programs and production apps. They promise to upgrade the hardware and operating regularly (it starts out as a Windows 10 machine) and you can stream the desktop to an older Windows (Windows 7), MacOS, or Android device. It will also run on their $140 thin client device if you want a tiny kitchen or desktop office experience. This might be the easiest way to get full Windows functionality on a Mac or Android device.