Our industry has always moved quickly but the internet and high-scale services have substantially quickened the pace. Search is an amazingly powerful productivity tool and available effectively to free to all. The internet makes nearly all information available to anyone who can obtain time on an internet connection. Social networks and interest-area specific discussion groups are bringing together individuals of like interest from all over the globe. The cost of computing is falling rapidly and new services are released daily. The startup community has stayed viable through one of the most severe economic downturns since the great depression. Infrastructure as a service offerings allow new businesses to be build with very little seed investment. I’m amazed at the quality of companies I’m seeing that have 100% bootstrapped without VC funding. Everything is changing.
Netbooks have made low end computers close to free and, in fact, some are released on the North American cell phone model where a multi-year service contract subsidies the device. I’ve seen netbooks for free with a three wireless contract. This morning I came across yet more evidence of healthy change: a new client operating system alterative. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google Plans to Launch Operating Systems for PC (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124702911173210237.html). Other articles: http://news.google.com/news?q=google+to+launch+operating+system&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&ei=s5hUSsTlO4PUsQPX7dCaDw&sa=X&oi=news_group&ct=title&resnum=1.
The new O/S is Linux based and Linux has long been an option on Netbooks. What’s different in this case is a huge commercial interest is behind advancing the O/S and intends to make it a viable platform on more capable client systems rather than just netbooks. These new lightweight, connected products are made viable by the combination of the wide-spread connectivity and the proliferation of very high-quality, high-fuction services. Having a new O/S player in the game will almost certainly increase the rate of improvement.
Alternatives continue to emerge, the cost of computing continues to fall, the pace of change continues to quicken, and everyone from individual consumers through the largest enterprises are gaining from the increased pace of innovation. It’s a fun time to participate in this industry.
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