Ubiquity Reconsidered

February 6, 2009

I wonder if the conventional view of ubiquity is short-sighted. I agree that in the short term it makes sense to have your data in the cloud and have views of it from your phone and computer.

But consider that the G1 is a 600 MHz Unix box in your pocket and that the iPhone comes with 16 GB of Flash.

All the data I’ve ever accumulated is less than 50 GB. And that’s an over-estimate because 15 GB of that is ripped MP3 files, which I wouldn’t do today because I only listen to Rhapsody and Internet radio stations. But let’s say 64 GB. That’ll be standard in phones in three years, according to Moore’s Law.

Also consider that the G1 is a pretty complete computer, and is really only missing a display and keyboard to be fully usable for everything except video games. (And we don’t really need ubiquity for video games, just an XBox.)

So imagine a phone like the G1 that has Bluetooth for keyboard/mouse and wireless HDMI for video/audio. It also has 64 GB of Flash, backed up continuously to the cloud (but that’s only a backup). You have a video/keyboard setup at home and at work. There’s a structured way to separate personal and work data so that when you quit they can erase the work stuff.

You’d receive and keep your emails locally, like the old days. You’d have social applications, but they’d run locally, for maximum interactivity and resilience to network hiccups.

What’s wrong with that picture? Isn’t all we’d really need? Why push everything to the cloud when in three years I’ll only have a single device?