GigaOM writes about Xcerion:
Internet OS sector seems to be getting increasingly crowded. Start-ups such as YouOS, EyeOS are vying for mindshare with Internet giants like Google. The seriousness of market is reflected by the fact that earlier this month, Microsoft set up an all-star group to tackle the Cloud OS opportunities.
A dark horse in this race is Xcerion, a Swedish start-up that came out of stealth earlier this month, and announced its XIOS, its XML-based Internet OS, and got subtle tip of the hat from some of the most respected technology pundits.
The Hindu writes in an editorial:
To millions of citizens who cannot afford an expensive personal computer, the early results of a pilot test of a low-cost networked PC, which uses a cable connection to hook up to the Internet, offer new hope to overcome digital deprivation. The nimble `thin computing’ system eliminates the need for the consumer to acquire powerful hardware and expensive software to perform functions such as writing documents, accessing websites, and emailing. The pilot project in a middle-class locality in Chennai by Novatium, a technology products company, to demonstrate a Rs.4,450 NetPC has attracted wide attention; the user has a recurring access cost, inclusive of Internet charges, of about Rs.450 a month. For quite a while, networking companies have aimed to make the `network the computer.’ In parallel, there have been attempts by others to produce low-cost standalone PCs that can break the $100-barrier while plans to develop handheld devices with similar goals met with limited success. The NetPC model seeks to shift the burden of performance away from the user’s hardware to the server. By accessing software that is installed not at the user end but on a remote server, the total cost of ownership for the consumer is reduced.
The Hindu had a story recently on Novatium:
Mr. Mani’s house is now one of 140 homes in Chennai where `Nova Net PC’ offers Internet connectivity and computing solutions at affordable rates.
The Net PC primarily scores with its costing. The Net PC package consisting of the CPU, a 14-inch CRT monitor, a keyboard and a mouse has been tentatively priced at Rs.4, 450 (roughly $100). When Net PC hits the market at this price, it could well be the most economical home PC ever.
However, Novatium is positioning the device beyond the cost advantage. It is talking about the PC as a home appliance that would offer a no-frills attached comfort of use.
So, what makes it comfortable? For starters, the first generation Nova Net PC is stripped off most hardware that could give rise to complications. The CPU consists of a motherboard, an Ethernet connectivity port to connect to the VLAN, 4 USB ports and a serial port for the monitor. Two of the 4 USB ports are used for the keyboard and mouse. Storage, therefore, will exist remotely on a server managed by Novatium. Each user gets close to 2 GB of space.
Vijay Rana has done with an audio interview me about Novatium and the network computer.
No! it is not a dream. It’s now a reality for 400 poor families in Chennai. A company called Novatium has introduced this unique concept in computing where all the computing, multimedia and Internet applications are set up on a remote server. This NetPC has no conventional processor and no hard-disc. It is connected to a remote server through a cable operator or phone company. You can connect to this server by paying a monthly fee like you now pay for Internet service provider or the cable operator. Recently, the Newsweek Magazine profiled the cofounder of NetPc, Rajesh Jain: “This formula may just change the way the average person thinks of computing.” Comparing the NetPC with the $100 laptop of MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte, the Newsweek wrote, “if the winning formula turns out to be Jain’s, or something like it, it could kill the PC altogether. Here in this exclusive interview Jain unveils his vision of a PC for everyone in India.
Following the Newsweek cover story, I came across this article by Chin Wong:
A company in India called Novatium has begun selling the NetPC for only $100, but heres the catch: it has no hard disk, very little memory to speak of, and uses a cheap processor of undisclosed origin thats more typically found on mobile phones. The software? Zip. Youll have to subscribe to that, including the operating system, which will be rented out to you over the Internet. You cant save your files locally, eitheryoull have to send them back to the server over the Internet.
even if the speed of my broadband connection suddenly doubled tomorrow, I still wouldnt trade in my PC for a $100 NetPC and heres why.
First, I run applications that would crawl over a network. You can do word processing reasonably well over the Internet, but dont try manipulating a 60-megabyte graphic file or editing video over a network unless you have a lot of time on your hands. And hosted applications will slow down as more users get on the network.
Second, I like local storage and I have a hunch most people do, too. This is why we save data files to the hard disk, keep backups of important files, burn digital photos onto CDs and fill up MP3 players with our favorite songs. We like having this stuff available, even when the network isnt.
Finally, and perhaps most important, I like the freedom to run any program I want on my computer without having to get it from some centralized server. This is what drove people from dumb terminals and centralized computing in the first place, and this is what will keep thin clients out of the computing mainstream for years to come. The PC let the genie out of the bottle, and it will take more than a rehashed network computer to get it back in.