Jason Hiner at ZDNet, has written an article, “Are netbooks quietly driving us toward cloud computing?”
He’s laid out a case that not only are netbooks/subnotebooks bucking the current trends of the PC industry (shrinking sales with some companies), but that they are poised to grow a lot more, and along the way, they are going to be bringing greater access to new technologies, especially cloud computing and cloud storage:
As a result, the limited local processing and limited local storage available on netbooks are likely to become catalysts for transferring more processing and storage to the data center, where companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are currently building up large reservoirs of computing resources.
Those three companies will certainly be beneficiaries of this trend – especially in terms of their cloud storage initiatives – but so will many other companies that host Software-as-a-Service applications, hosted storage, and cloud computing services.
We are already seeing this, with Asus offering 10GB – 20GB through their Eee Storage service.
HP is offering their “HP Upline” service with some devices that offers online data storage and backup.
Then you have third parties offering online storage services such as Dropbox which allows you to stay platform-neutral. There are clients available for the major OS platforms, as well as a web-accessible option for accessing your stored items through your browser.
Those three examples allow you to keep files in sync and backed up between multiple systems, especially important when you are using a netbook/ultraportable as a secondary device, and you don’t want to be in a situation where you have your files scattered around and they aren’t backed up, or where you are going with one of the smaller-capacity Solid State Drive (SSD) options.
There are also services like Evernote which is more oriented towards storing and syncing data (text, web clippings, documents, images). I’m a huge fan of Evernote, as are many people I know. You can have both client-based storage/syncing for those times when you are offline, and you can also access your data through a web interface. It even performs Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on images/photos that you upload, that have text somewhere in the image. You can then find that data through simple text searches.