It all started with large Mainframe computers and small dumb terminals. We then went for the client server where the power was in the desktop and the central mainframe or the server was just a file server.
Technology flipped again with the start of the internet, where the browser was a simple software programme that displayed HTML pages held on a massive server. In the last few years it has flipped again with the introduction of applications and HTML 5, putting more power onto the browser.
So what is going to happen when we flip back to a fat server and a thin client? Here are my predictions for the next two flips:
Then comes the next flip of the future. What if we all bought massive media libraries / hard disks that contain all the content we are ever likely to need? We then buy license keys to unlock the media. For example, at the moment we have Spotify streaming content onto the player.
Spotify reports that it would take 80 years of non-stop listening to listen to the entire catalogue.1
If we assume it’s 1 Meg per minute of music, then we would need 40 terabytes to hold the Spotify music library.
The price of hard disks has been dramatically affected by the flooding in Thailand but if the price per terabyte had of contributed to follow Moore’s Law (as it did between 2007 and 2009) the price per terabyte would be $11.25 per terabyte.
It this were the case, a 40TB disk would currently cost $450 (assuming this were technically possible and all other things considered).
At this rate, in 2015 you would be able to hold Spotify in your pocket for $56.25.
However you wouldn’t need to hold the entire Spotify library, you would only need the parts you are either interested in or could possibly be interested in. If we added in media selection based on your preferences, what you have previously listed to, etc. That way, your massive terabyte disk would be personalised to you and contain everything you might ever want to listen to. With this in mind, you might only need half of Spotify and therefore only need 20TB.
But what would be the point, why not just keep streaming it via the internet? Other than offline browsing – so speed and location independent – I’m not sure, but personally I really like the idea of Spotify in my pocket.
** Source spotify - http://www.spotify.com/uk/about/music-catalogue-info/