Translation Please

Sure Is Getting Cloud-y!

1/25/2010 6:42 PM

This Wednesday (Jan. 27), Apple finally throws its tablet into the gadget bling. Gird for a twittery hullaballoo. 

A few weeks ago, Google unveiled its first stab at a portable display, the “Nexus One” smart phone.

 Apple’s tablet will presumably fetch video content from iTunes (with a predictable impact on carrier bandwidth.)

 Notably, YouTube added a payment option last week, so people can watch five titles from the Sundance Film Festival. YouTube is Google is Android is smart phone.

 So: Tablets get content from “the cloud” – in Apple’s case, iTunes. Ditto for e-readers and smart phones (meaning phones with Internet connections), which also pull content in from “the cloud.”

 Amazon is Kindle’s cloud; Google is Android’s cloud.

 And let’s not forget the netbooks: Inexpensive laptops, without built-in applications. They work best when they’re connected to the cloud.

 Sure is getting cloudy in this twittery, everything-connected, broadband landscape we live in.

 What exactly is the cloud? “Cloud” is a techno-hip reference to big, interconnected data centers, linked over giant, private, high-speed networks. They exist to house services and applications that can be pulled in from a growing glut of connectable devices.

 The Internet is the big cloud. YouTube is a cloud. iTunes is a cloud. Amazon is a cloud.

 Headsup: Cable is a cloud, too. It consists of the connected or connectable clouds of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Charter, Cox, and so on. The cloud that is cable holds jillions of hours of on-demand and linear video content, over broadband IP connections it built and owns, into homes and devices where a billing arrangement already exists.

And netbooks cost about the same, if not less, than a dual-tuner, high definition DVR.

 Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s a there, there, between the cable cloud and the connectable device landscape that is netbooks, tablets, and whatever additional fast and fancy displays enter the scene?

 Likewise for HDTVs and 3DTVs, most of which will come tricked-out with wired or wireless Internet connections by year-end. At CES, a prominent trend was this: You turn on the TV. On the screen, icons appear, to present video content from Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster.

 Why not icons that say “Comcast,” “Time Warner Cable,” “Cablevision”? Talk about brand-width! And cloud cover. Just a thought.