The New CherryPal PC will be introduced next month as a cheaper alternative to traditional computing devices, as well as one of the first PCs to use the concept of cloud computing. At only $249, marginally underpowered, and sans a keyboard and mouse, it’s the most basic of computers, but is it a sign of things to come?
The issue of cloud computing has been raised in the past, and some companies are already banking on the technology becoming a huge player in the future. VentureBeat is going so far as to say the CherryPal is "a forerunner of the oncoming revolution in “cloud” computing.
Cloud computing is based around the idea that all software and data is stored online on a third-party server instead of the PC itself. This means the PC needs far less on-board hardware to operate, and much less power-consumption. The CherryPal, for example, calls itself a "green computer" because its configuration allows it to use only two watts of power during operation.
The CherryPal uses a 400-MHz processor that can actually operate faster than more powerful processors due to the boost it receives from the connected server it’s constantly in communication with. Combine this with the fact that it almost never needs upgrades, is harder to infect with viruses, can be upgraded without replacing the computer itself, and allow files to be accessible from anywhere, and it makes the overall idea of cloud computing rather desirable.
The CherryPal is aimed mostly at students and people who are less "computer-savvy" on top of being cost-effective, but there’s one problem; you have to connect a keyboard, mouse, and VGA monitor to the device before you can use it. Not to mention, the fact that it has to be connected and configured to the outside-server. After adding these elements, it becomes less cost-effective and requires more know-how then the "non-computer-savvy" person will be willing to handle.
Another hurdle it must overcome is the slew of competition it will face in the near future. Offerings from the likes of Apple, with its Mac Mini, and Shuttle, which sells the KPC starting at $229, will be hard to compete with. Its only saving grace in regards to its competition, is the fact that while other companies offering similar "cloud services" charge fees for its use, CherryPal does not.
The overall idea of cloud computing is a good one, but I think its still better suited to full-feature computer systems from leading computer-brands. Combing the raw power, memory, and feature-set of today’s PCs with the idea of cloud computing is the better route to take. Even in the low-end computer market, a comprehensive solution that includes everything one would need is still better than making them pick and choose different devices to create a complete system.