1. The act of migrating tasks and applications from local PCs to rich internet applications.
2. A word invented (and defined) to write this here article.
In the last couple years, we’ve learned that Ultra-Mobile PCs, MIDs, and Internet Tablets aren’t meant to replace full computers. The primary purpose is to remain comfortable and portable while retaining as much functionality as possible. There is one thing that none of these can be without: Real Internet access. It is on the Internet where the full power of these devices lie. Instead of purchasing, waiting for, or hoping for applications to suit your purposes, a wide variety of on-the-road computer functions can be “Internetted.”
The term “Rich Internet Application” basically describes an Internet site that offers the user functionality like that of a regular computer program. The definition actually goes well beyond that (as evidenced by the Wikipedia page on the subject) but, for our purposes, we’ll focus on the that definition above.
By “Internetting” applications or using widely available, cross-platform applications, I have been able to perform my primary tasks on a variety of machines. Below are a list of Rich Internet Applications. Included (and marked with a (*)) are not web based but are cross-platform.
- Mobile office suite through Google services.
- Gmail – I am a heavy user of Gmail. While it does not offer some of the advanced pre-filtering options as some desktop Email clients, it is the most accessible Email service I’ve ever found. I can check, read, and compose mail on every Internet-enabled device I own.
- Google Calendar – While I wish it had an offline mode for my N800 Internet Tablet, it still serves me best as a calendar. I also share calendars and review others’ calendars. It’s not a full PDA, but does all I need it to do. With iCal on my Mac, I even sync my calendar to my iPod touch. I also use Goosync to get my calendar on my N95.
- Google Docs – Most of my posts are composed on Google Docs. You won’t find advanced templates, interactive forms, extensive exporting features, or other powerful functions found in a desktop word processor application, but none of those are needed while I am on the road anyway. If I expect to need these services, I bring a bigger machine.
- Other productivity and tools
- Voice over IP(*) – I don’t want everyone I meet to have my cell phone number but would like people to contact my business wherever I happen to be. With this in mind, I have a Skype number for business and keep a Skype client on my N800 when I want to be available while mobile. While there is no Web based client for Skype (yet) it’s a good idea to consider the presence of it or other VOIP services in a device.
- Instant Messages – With Meebo, it is possible to log into all major instant message clients without a local download. I personally don’t use it, but my good friend Bjorn at UltraMobileLife loves it.
- Remote Desktop and VNC(*) – I have used both of these tools (and web clients for them) in the past to remotely connect to my home computers. Both allowed me to have full desktop control of my remote machines.
- Lifestyle and Entertainment
- YouTube – and other video sites. Hours of entertainment. Really.
- RSS feeds – I use Google Reader on my UMPC and ReaderMini on my Internet Tablet. Mobile tech blogging means I comb scores of posts per day to keep up with everything, so RSS reading is essential.
- FotoFlexer – An online image editing program with the ability to import and export photos from a variety of sources
- Flickr, Picasa and other web albums – No local storage needed. Keep all your pictures handy.
- Orb – My media center PC constantly records new TV for me and houses all my movies, music, and TV shows. Orb allows me to stream all of that to any device supporting Windows Media, QuickTime, RealPlayer, and Flash. On the right browsers, Orb offers an optional rich interface for document access and retrieval of files stored on my home computer.
With all this, it is possible to have a mobile office, phone, communications suite, and entertainment all without using any local storage on the UMPC, MID or tablet. The experience will be nearly identical from machine to machine. I am eager to see these applications on MIDs and other light storage devices like the Asus Eee. Once web applications rich out, MIDs, Internet Tablets, and light UMPCs can replace laptops for a good number of consumers.