With the recent launch of Intel’s Atom processor and the explosive proliferation of Apple’s iPhone 3G, there’s been an uptick in breathless discussion around the potential for Mobile Internet Devices and Netbooks as a class of personal computer that will gradually displace laptops as most users’ principle computing and communication tool – what might eventually be the swiss-army knife of the web worker.
The arrival of Apple and Intel’s foundation technologies are just one part of the infrastructure needed to support such a step change; as Apple’s own botched launch of Mobile Me has illustrated, appropriate and highly reliable services aren’t a trivial step.
The recently launched Oosah is another service that aims to provide services ‘in the cloud’ for the emerging class of mobile internet devices. Optimised specifically for the iPhone at http://m.oosah.com, the service pitches itself as ’1TB in the palm of your hand’ with its range of media storage features for photos, music and video.
A defacto 1TB iPhone is a bold claim to make – and coupled with always-on access to media stored at Oosah, is a compelling proposition. The execution of the service seems a little mundane, organised into files and folders, requiring users to upload files one at a a time to the web service for later access via the iPhone-optimised mobile interface. How about a Googley or Spotlighty search metaphor?
Living your life in the cloud requires web-based services to reach deeper into the guts of mobile internet devices; iPhones need to synchronise with services like Oosah and enable client applications to reach back into Oosah programmatically. My MacBook should sync up with Oosah as invisibly as Time Capsule continually backs up my hard drive. Conversely, iPhone applications such as ‘iPod‘ and ‘Photos‘ should be able to pull their data from remote sources. I won’t even get into the impact on unlimited data plans on telcos, though perhaps they stand to benefit from a PC-as-a-Service, or PCaaS, model…
Ultimately, the ecosphere of technologies and services that’s neccessary to make for a useful mobile internet device requires all parties to commit to a sharp degree of openness. Right now, large parts of the iPhone are off-limits to developers, cellcos are still hobbling unlimited data plans and the iPhone developer programme can appear to be quite draconian to some unfortunate third party developers.
However, I’m optimistic that as Apple evolves its developer relationships, services like Oosah might well evolve into extraordinary services, that do indeed bring 1TB to the palm of your hand.