Friday, November 16, 2007

Web 2.0 As Operating System

Last night I attended the Melbourne Adobe User Group November meeting. There two excellent presentations:
While listening to Chris I found myself making a connection between Chumby and the gOS that Wal-Mart has been selling. I guess to explain this I need to give a brief description of Chumby and gOS.

Chumby is an always on device that you configure via your browser. It runs a version of Linux and includes a Flash player (Flash Lite 3.0) and uses wifi to connect to the net. Developers build widgets so the Chumby can do things. For example, there is a clock, an RSS reader, an eBay watcher and lots of other things. The point is the content is delivered from the web. Which is fine because there is a lot of very useful content on the web.

The so called gOS (Google Operating System) is a custom Linux install that uses web services as it's applications. So you have gMail, Blogger, Wikipedia, Skype, Facebook etc as your core applications. Compared to the Chumby it is a more traditional computer with a keyboard and mouse etc. But like Chumby it believes there is enough online services to make it useful.

Both of these devices are selling for around the same price (Chumby : $175, gOS : $200). Which is around the same price as some iPod's. Therefore the market is willing to buy devices at this price if they prove useful. Which makes me wonder what are we looking at here? Is this the beginnings of a new "must have" device or a couple of wannabes curiosities?

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