Jul 072012
Pano Logic

That is a big deal.

Just as Salesforce.com became famous with the slogan “The end of software,” Pano Logic seems to want to be the computer company famous for the end of chips. That could be more bad news for traditional makers of personal computers, like Dell, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard.

On Friday, Pano announced an inexpensive device that, in effect, creates a desktop computer without relying on the type of expensive semiconductors used in such computers. It connects directly to a central server, possibly in the cloud, that manages all the computing, including a browser to work across the Internet.

Like a headphone jack turning digital information about audio signals into music, the machine interprets and sorts electronic signals like video, audio and text, routing them appropriately to and from things like headphones, screens, mice, keyboards and microphones. It does this using a much simpler form of semiconductor, that has no central processing unit.

“We’re at a point where large companies no longer believe that they get any efficiency by delivering desktop applications themselves,” said John Kish, chief executive of Pano. “A personal computer constantly has things going wrong, with people downloading things, getting viruses, doing stuff they are not allowed to do.”

In a sense, the Pano box is a step beyond Google’s Chromebox, which has chips with CPU’s but likewise delivers computing tasks like word processing over the Internet. In both cases, a company can write centralized rules about what employees can do on their computers. At $149 to $169, plus a license for the server software, the Pano may be even cheaper than the Chromebox, with fewer things to go wrong.

That is a big deal. Personal computers may cost $500 or less, but running them costs a bundle. Estimates of what it takes to keep a corporate machine running for five years, taking into account things like upgrades, personnel and patches, run as high as $20,000 a PC.

This would not end all that, but it would reduce the number of things that could go wrong and increase the maintenance done from a single location.

Read more . . .

via New York Times – Quentin Hardy.

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