By Peter Varhol
We’ve all been concerned about losing our laptop when we travel. With airport security, work inflight, carrying the laptop around, and leaving it in the hotel room in the evening, there is ample opportunity. I once asked a TSA agent at San Francisco International Airport how many laptops got left behind in a day. The answer: 25 to 30.
Kayvees Design Studio created the Slate Pad, powered with Intel’s Atom processor.
While the laptop may be worth a few hundred dollars, the data is the real issue. There might be proprietary data on the system of value to someone else. Even if the hard disk is encrypted, the data is lost and it may be very time-consuming or even impossible to recreate.
In response to this very real problem, KayVees Design Studio has created a new type of personal computer system, similar to a netbook but still more basic. Called the Slate Pad, it provides a basic ability to connect to the Internet and download and run applications that can reside on enterprise servers or be rented or accessed from a location in a public data center as required.
The Slate Pad consists of a display, input and output (track pad, keyboard, and graphical display), Intel’s Atom processor, support logic, memory, and wireless network access. You store your data in the cloud, open your files and applications, perform your work, and save that work back to the data center.
The operating system doesn’t matter, as long as it can fit into the memory space. You can boot either Windows or Linux, but it has to be downloaded from the data center across the Internet. This provides the ultimate in flexibility, in that users can even rent the OS by the hour, depending on their application requirements. The same is true with regard to renting applications; it’s not common today, but it will likely become common in the future.
In addition to providing a solution to protecting data, the Slate Pad has the ability to become the computer for the masses. Similar to the One Laptop Per Child initiative, the Slate Pad is low cost and relatively low technology. As long as there are applications available on a server somewhere, the Slate Pad can stream them and run them locally, then save files back on the servers.
Still, the Slate Pad may be a little before its time. The cloud data centers are not yet in widespread existence, and wireless Internet access is neither free of charge nor widespread across the country or the world. This sort of computer may be the wave of the future as both a consumer device and a business convenience, but it’s going to take at least several years for the data center and Internet infrastructure to be built out to support the concept. When it does, we may well be past the time where everyone has to have the latest and most powerful computer.
KayVees Design Studio is creating the Slate Pad for a computer manufacturer who wishes to remain anonymous at this time. The system is slated to be completed at the beginning of 2012.
Contributing Editor Peter Varhol covers the HPC and IT beat for DE. His expertise is software development, math systems, and systems management. You can reach him at DE-Editors@deskeng.com.