An Indian company called iDuple has just announced plans to build an internet tablet. The concept combines a couple of ideas that have been kicking around for a couple of years. On their own, they’ve all seemed like rather bad ideas, but when you combine them… well, iDuple might actually be on to something here. Maybe.
Here’s the pitch. The tablet basically has one app: a web browser. There’s no hard drive, and the tablet can boot in about 5 seconds. Now here’s the interesting bit: The lack of a hard drive doesn’t mean that you can’t install apps, store files, and perform other activities that you might not expect from a browser-based tablet, because the iDuple tablet is designed to remotely connect you to a server that runs a virtual operating system.
In other words, the OS is in the cloud. Your storage is in the cloud. Apps run in the cloud. The tablet doesn’t need a lot of storage or a fast processor to handle resource-intensive applications, because they’re actually being run by a remote server. Users will get 50GB of cloud-based storage space for their files.
The company believes there are a few advantages to this approach. First, iDuple can produce a low cost tablet with limited hardware capabilities while still providing a decent user experience. Second, users will be able to access their user environment from any computer with a web browser, making it easy to upload or download files from your desktop or make other changes to your settings. You should also be able to quickly access your settings from any iDuple tablet if yours gets lost or damaged.
I’ve never really seen much value in web-based operating systems in the past, although I’ve seen a number pop up over the past few years. And the JooJoo tablet has shown just how difficult it can be to make a browser-based operating system usable on a tablet. But when you combine the two concepts, well, that could actually work. Well, as long as you have an always-on internet connection. The iDuple tablet wouldn’t be much use when you’re offline.
Of course, right now iDuple has no hardware to show off yet, only a concept picture. You can check out a demo of the web-based operating system at the company’s web site though. Now iDuple just has to produce a decent piece of hardware with good battery life and a suite of web-based apps that users will actually want to interact with.
You can check out a few screenshots of the iDuple OS after the break. It looks like there are already apps for Twitter, email, instant messaging, PDF viewing and drawing, as well as a word processor and spreadsheet.