In 1998 I got my first always-on Internet connection via my cable provider. The move from dial-up to cable was huge. Speed was an important factor but the fact that I could access the internet at any time had an even bigger impact.
After the shift from dial-up to always-on came mobile. Mobile hasn’t caught on as we hoped it would. And it turns out it might look different than we thought. No ordering pizza on a black & white WML generated iMode site. The future of mobile internet looks different. It looks like the iPhone and more important: the Amazon Kindle.
The interesting thing about the Kindle isn’t so much the fact that it has a Wireless Connection built it. It is the fact that this Wireless Connection is free and comes bundled with the device. The seperation between gadget and mobile connection is gone. The Kindle comes with Ubiquitous Internet.
2008 will see more evidence of the Ubiquitous Internet. SanDisk launched a new USB stick today called the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus. This storage device, which SanDisk believes is the first of its kind, will automatically save all data stored on it to Amazon’s S3 storage service via a synchronization service called BeInSync. The device is cheap but comes with a $29.99 a year subscription to the BeInSync online back-up service.
The interesting thing about the Cruzer and Kindle is that they simply provide you with a service and you don’t have to think about this data being on of offline. It is simply there for you and available everywhere.
There have been indications that Google is working on an offline client for their Google Docs Application suite. The interesting thing about an offline client would not just be to work offline instead of online but again to remove the distinction between the two. With a client installed at your computer your documents would simply be everywhere, and always available, forever.
The question is if Ubiquitous Internet will dramatically change business models and enable new companies. Obviously BeInSync will do well and so will Amazon. But what start-ups can we envision taking advantage of an always-on economy?