David Berlind writes:
picture a world where, instead of carrying a notebook computer with you everywhere you go, and instead of having power-drinking desktops in every corner of your house, all you have is a USB key that you take from one dirt cheap thin client to another. On that key is not just all of your personal data (that is stored in the cloud but replicated to your USB key for offline usage), but perhaps a small Web server and some applications, both of which are thin-client friendly. Some stuff for authentication too. Everything’s encrypted.
There are implications in terms of what thin client technology you’ll find in the seatbacks of planes and trains or where ever you may find yourself cut off from the cloud. They’ll need USB ports and they’ll have to know what to do when a USB key is inserted into them. Perhaps these terminals will all have runtimes for Java and Flash and all you’ll need on your USB key are applications word processing or otherwise that are written for those runtimes. Or maybe the runtimes are on the USB key itself in the same way that there’s a tiny Java Virtual Machine on JavaCards. And maybe the USB key has an SD slot and it’s the SD card that has everything on it. If you want, you can pop that SD card out of the USB key and into the SD I/O slot on your PDA.
We’re closer than you think to a world where a lot of this gets worked out.