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