Computer Fits in My Palm, Pano Logic Review

Desktop virtualization is a phrase you may be hearing more of sooner than later. The idea of computing in the cloud as opposed to today’s private desktop machines isn’t new but there haven’t been many products to put idea into practice. The Pano Logic designed by Whipsaw Inc. is the first of which I’ve seen blends the beauty of minimalist design with a seamless computing experience made near identical to the computer I’m using now to type this.

They call it a thin zero client. There’s no hard drive, no processor, nothing but a graphics driver, basic I/O inputs for power, keyboard, mouse, and ethernet port. It boots up like a regular computer bringing you the Windows XP or Vista OS. The experience is almost identical to having a regular computer. Lag is dependent on broadband speed but everything is done via virtualization and computed thru a centralized cloud. Even files are stored this way. Once the hardware becomes obsolete, you simply upgrade but never have to deal with transferring or moving files. You never have to deal with virus protection, firewalls, software installation or even OS upgrades because all that is stored and happens in the cloud.

What you actually pay for is the Pano Logic unit itself and $20/month to run the virtualization service – a small fee considering you never have to deal with software.

The design is incredibly minimal and blingy at the same time thanks to its smooth cubic shell and mirror finish. The entire surface is a finger print magnet but thankfully the only part you ever have to touch is the glowing corner home button. The device is quite heavy for something only 9 cubic inches.

Pano Logic is currently targeted for business applications with very narrow needs in terms of software management and virtualization. It’s not quite ready for primetime consumer use but it’s a wonderful exercise in practice for a technology we may see more of in the future.

What we liked:

  • Beautiful design
  • Unit costs are based on need but monthly service is quite affordable
  • Simple to operate, offers near identical experience to regular computing
  • No need to ever deal with software or OS management

What could be improved:

  • Wish it came with matching keyboard and mouse
  • Video output max’d at 1600×1200, needs a bump to HD resolutions
  • Needs wireless option

Designer: Whipsaw Inc. [ Pano Logic ]

22 Comments

  • RedBrain says:

    What? Only VGA out? Where’s the DVI? Where’s the HDMI?

  • Edima says:

    Like they would get to the point where desktops are just little boxes, with maybe a virtual keyboard and a virtual touchscreen

  • Canastrophy says:

    Where is the Data stored again? I can’t quite follow the idea here…

    Because having the software anywhere else but on one of my own harddrives makes me kind of nervous, seeing as personal data could be stolen quite easy.

  • l0ki says:

    This is not (i repeat: is not) a computer. It’s a client that is intended to run applications off a server, has no HDD, and carries on the idea of cloud computing. It does not even have a CPU, and let alone a GPU to give those >SXGA resolutions everyone wants (and only few of us use).

    Hence, it cannot and it should not be expected to be a replacement for your home computers (at least for now). If you want a tiny computer for home look elsewhere (I believe you all know how to use google) for this thing will not run witout a server to suply it with data and processing power. And… companies, if you believe in this model – go ahead!

  • pat says:

    There are already many thin clients available and in use (google “dell thin client”). I’d rather buy a not-so-fancy-looking one from a well-established company like Dell, and know it’ll be compatible with my company’s current servers, than try something new.

    They are great for people who work from home, whereas the company has a centrally located network that stores all the files (as most large companies and government offices already do).

  • baerjamin says:

    Let me start by stating up-front that I work for Pano Logic. With that said let me add a couple of things: This is a built-from-the-ground-up desktop virtualization solution that runs alongside VMware VI-3 server virtualization. The Pano Virtual Desktop Solution is a turnkey solution that provides our enterprise customers an easy way to extend the power of server virtualization out to the desktop. This solution is far more secure and provides tremendous benefits by centralizing management and extending the lifecycle for the client well beyond a traditional PC.

    Also, unlike the Thin Clients of old, the Pano solution does not utilize Windows Terminal Services. We instead have architected a solution that works with Windows at the Console layer. This means we can provide out-of-the-box native Windows experience — access to native Windows drivers for virtually anything an end user will demand — far beyond any Thin Client.

    Lastly, as you may have guessed from my reply we are NOT selling this to consumers and our target market has never included consumers. This is about leveraging server virtualization and unless you have virtualized datacenter at home it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for you. Now if you are an IT administrator for a corporate datacenter Pano can quickly and easily demonstrate how you can even further extend limited resources and take control of far flung uncontrollable PC infrastructure.

    For more information: http://www.panologic.com

    • zippyflounder says:

      Thanks for the clean up, nice product and you have picked a good market (when the economany comes back) to go after…good luck

    • We are using the Pano Logic solution at Cache Creek Casino Resort. And i have to tell you I love this solution. For the most part, our users don’t need high end machines to run the basic office applications. (ie Microsoft Office)Performance is actually better running off our 10 ESX servers.

      This is a great solution as we have replaced many PC’s with Pano boxes. We will not replace all our PC’s, but those generic type workstations will be getting replaced. All of our training PC’s, customer and employee kiosks, our HR application PC’s all have been replaced with a Pano virtual machine.

      • fgonce says:

        Since you have been using these devices for a while. What’s the network bandwidth required compared to a RDP type thin client? Any difference in the number of VM supported on your ESX server between a RDP and Pano solution? What’s the distance between your Pano clients and your ESX servers? Same building, across campus, across town, or it doesn’t matter?
        Thanks,
        Fred

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