Compute Continuum finally arrived?
Google and Apple announced its foray into TVs and Autos recently. ‘Compute Continuum’, a phrase spread headed by Intel, which refers to a computing paradigm where an user’s ability to use an application with its last known state across different devices or ability to access applications, its state from any device, appears to be finally arrived.
Few hypothetical scenarios of compute continuum, may be
- A video/music start playing from the last played position from any device when the user access the media later point of time from another device.
- Accessing phone’s text message from desktop computer or living room TV.
- Reading a document from same scroll point from another device.
- Answering phone call from desktop when your phone rings.
In a nutshell, compute continuum is ability to use and access an app and its context from another device.
There are challenges in accomplishing compute continuum, due to difficulties in transferring an app’s context and state to another device, which runs on different operating system and hardware. So far, each apps and its state lives with in the universe of the device where the app reside. Very little accomplished with application continuity with cloud-based apps.
Apple is trying to bridge this gap with recent announcement of ‘Apple Continuity’, ‘Handoff’ and ‘CarPlay’. Users will be able to attend a phone call in iPhone or iPad or Mac or Car’s built in display, or able to respond to text message from any of the device. Begin composing an email in iPhone and finish it off in iMac. But accessing it on big screen on living room is still missing from Apple. Apple TV is yet to take off as serious project.
Now it is Google’s turn, Google announced Android Auto, Android TV. Android Auto, part of Open Automotive Alliance, extends any Android device screens to Cars, and allows accessing android apps from Car’s built in display. Similarly Android TV, specially designed user interface allow accessing videos from web, also allows Android phone controls the TV. Details need to arrive how sharing the Apps and data from an Android phone will work with Android TV, but the framework is set, and platform is unified. Rest is innovation of application developers seamlessly allowing TVs, Cars and mobile phones to interact with each other (A text message arriving on your phone appears as notification icon on your TV? or Nest’s thermostat status accessible from Phone while you are at office?).
Android set to take space in living room and on the road. Both these spaces are where the next big computing innovations ready to explode. Extending android’s wide reach as mobile platform, to bigger screen at living room, on the built in screen of cars, will make computing a seamless experience for consumers.
What next from Google? A unified free extendable OS (android), which support every device, including home automation, home robots (Remember Boston dynamics, other bunch of companies Google acquired recently?), wearable’s and allowing these devices talk to each other seamlessly, and provide hassle free, integrated delightful customer user experience?
All of these appear to set with android. Less nightmare for developers, they can develop an app, which can runs on any screen, big screen at home, cars, home devices, wearable, mobiles, and desktop.
Tying all of these devices apps, and its context with seamless user experience will be next big thing for Google to take it forward. Exciting true compute continuum days are ahead.