Sure Is Getting Cloudy!

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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” smartphone.

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 smartphone.

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.

Heads up: 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 cable 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.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there’s a “there, there,” between the cable cloud and the connectable device landscape that comprises 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 the Consumer Electronics Show, 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.

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