Silicon Valley has played host to innumerable tech startups that promised to be the next Intel or Google only to vanish away without a trace, or an apology for their erroneous claims. Now Tomshardware’s Wolfang Gruener, who claims to have successfully portended Google’s spectacular rise, has placed his bet on Ncomputing to be the next Google.
It isn’t exactly the most perilous punt ever, as Ncomputing is in one of the hottest tech niches of our times, i.e. highly affordable, no-frills computing. No, Ncomputing isn’t building the cheapest netbook or low-cost PC. It is doing things differently by pioneering a viable cloud computing solution for plebeians. Its computing device is like a set-top-box that can be connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and can share the resources of a full-fledged Windows or Linux PC - using an Ethernet connection - to allow a user to surf the internet, watch media and use other essential applications.
In this manner up to 30 devices can share the resources of a single PC via an Ethernet connection. Its range starts with a $200 bundle that includes three X-series access devices and a PCI card – effectively less than $70 a pop for its magic device. The energy rating of its device is a commendable 1 watt.
The company claims that any basic PC with a Core 2 Duo processor and 1 GB ram is good enough to serve as a host for up to six X-series devices. The L-series devices lie at the other end of the price band as they are priced at $150 a pop. They can be used to distribute the computing power of a quad-core host to 30 different users.
Ncomputing does have a lot of things going for it and is in the right place at the right time. Inexpensive computing is burgeoning and everyone is upbeat about this tech niche.
The company claims to have sold 1 million of its magic boxes in the past 20 months around the globe. But before Ncomputing can rub shoulders with the likes of Google and Intel, it will have to pass its acid test by successfully winning mainstream consumers.
It currently caters to various organizations with such generic – or even trivial - computing needs that don’t actually merit an expensive legion of full-fledged computers.
Can you imagine a place for cloud computing in ordinary homes, in your homes? The answer to this question will decide Ncomputing’s standing amongst the who’s who of Silicon Valley in times to follow.