We keep hearing about new smartphones, but it appears Samsung and Motorola are going to surprise us with a new concept — cloud based mobile phones.
These are cheaper phones that will run on software stored in a remote server, or cloud. Usually, the data accessed by smartphones resides on the phone itself, thus raising the cost of the device. Cloud phones, on the other hand, will have no need to carry data with them. Rather, users can just pluck data from the cloud and use it as per their convenience.
There are currently more feature phone users than there are smartphone users. Feature phones have less processing power than smartphones, and if they use cloud technology, they don’t need to have costly components at all.
The exciting part is that feature phones will be able to access data same as smartphones do; it’s just that the data will not be stored on the phone.
Users will benefit due to the reduced cost of the phone, while handset companies will be able to target more users. Even in the case of applications, people won’t have to worry whether the app will run on their phone or not since the apps will then be platform independent.
Users won’t have to worry about the phone’s storage capacity because their data will be stored in the cloud. Of course, they will have to a worry about the storage capacity of the cloud and might have to pay extra for storing data beyond a free limit. Since the apps or software are not installed on the phone, there is more memory available to make the phone work efficiently.
The need for more expensive devices will also disappear, and even if something goes wrong with the hardware of the phone users can go for a new handset without worrying about their personal data, which will be safely stored in the cloud.
Take the example of Gmail: All the data is stored on Google servers, and the data processing work is also done in the cloud.
Even other apps, including the music player, mobile desktop, printer app, and multimedia player can be based in the cloud. Indian users are likely to lead the cloud mobile phone market due to their preference for feature phones, which are less expensive.
Samsung, which is working on cloud based phones, is looking to use either Chromium or even WebOS from HP to make sure it has a great user interface in place. Samsung believes users don’t really care whether the data remains in the phone or the cloud so long as the phone performs all the tasks expected of it well.
The recent news of Motorola acquiring Zecter should also be seen in the same light since Zecter provides music and photo streaming services to mobile phones.
Last but not least, if Samsung can think of using Chromium in its cloud based feature phone, why can’t Google come up with a Chrome based phone? Chrome operating system is in any case a closed system, which can be a good thing in a way because users can stop worrying about software upgrades and antivirus or security.
But a cloud based mobile phone also has a cost factor to it. Every time the phone is switched on it will start accessing data from the server, which means more expenses for the user. This is a problem that handset manufacturers will have to address.