Ben Thompson brings up iPads (and tangentially) smartphones as a triumph of thin clients. He is definitely on to something and this has been an ever increasing part of the way we (meaning the folks here at BiTE) think about apps architecturally. Traditionally, thin clients were dumb terminals into some larger computer that provided the real smarts of an application – and traditionally that was just one application. But in the world of smartphones and tablets, this has broken (beautifully) into the cloud and multiple services focusing on data storage and connectivity with personal, mobile devices providing rich and engaging interfaces. As the average user started using multiple devices, numerous concerns made the cloud more valuable – synching, never losing data, access from multiple points, etc. The spare capacity coupled with the advent of a new interface in the form of touch allowed these devices to become much more focused on the user’s specialized experience on that device.
This was the driving force behind a lot of our BiteCore tools (Esp. BiteAsynch). Often our task as app designers/developers is to create the best possible interface to services users value. Most of what we do involves a lot of communicating and processing in/with the cloud, while making sure that users can take full advantage of that power thought beautiful interfaces. We’re only just now starting to see the promise of huge amounts of the world carrying around easy, accessible and delightful little computers that are always connected to heavy duty data and processing centers.