The end of software. A prediction.

Photo by Illuminating Distractions on Flickr

My kid will never install software from a disc, thumb drive or any other medium. He will grow up in a world where all functionality he wishes to expand his device to, whether it be his tablet, communicator (what’s a phone?), large screen display or set top box (what’s a gaming console?) will be available via download. (Yes, I left out laptop/netbook, because I don’t know if my kid will ever need one.)

Last week I had the impulse to update my ailing PC laptop to Windows 7 from Vista. I had to burn gas in my car to drive to Staples/Best Buy/Target/Whatever to purchase a plastic, shrink wrapped box (of which there were 8 versions to choose from) which contained a holographically edged DVD in it. I injected my laptop with said DVD at approximately 11am. About 5 hours later, the Operating System of my laptop was updated. Hooray.

This is unacceptable.

My son’s tablet (currently an iPad, reluctantly shared with my wife) and his communicator (currently an iPod, also shared with my wife — although not yet used for communication) can update their OS’s (if you still want to call them that) in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.

My communicator (currently an HTC Incredible), my wife’s moto Droid, our PS3, Wii, etc… these all update very quickly as well. With nothing to handle, just approving updated user agreements, you get the latest backdrop of software (OS) from the manufacterer/carrier right away. No discs to handle. No need to drive anywhere to buy something. It comes straight from the source — an it’s always up-to-date. The same goes for the apps/widgets/channels we now install.

You get the idea. Cloud based OS’s are the future. Companies and the devices that don’t run on them are not.

Photo Credits: “Shattered CD”, by Illuminating Distractions on Flickr

chuckstar

12 Comments

Jeffry Houser

You aren’t talking about the end of software; you’re just talking about a different distribution method for it.

I’m not sure you needed the trip.

I updated my laptop from Windows Vista to Windows 7 w/o a trip to the store. [Fair enough; I’m a computer geek I know some tricks].

My mother, on the other hand, updated her netbook from Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home without the trip to a store. That is more impressive.

Reply
chuckstar22

Good point. I suppose it’s “the end of software” as we’ve known it. However, no one refers to iPhone apps, etc as software. They’re apps. There’s not much ‘ware’ to them.

Reply
Josh Tynjala

I definitely agree that software on physical media is going to be less and less relevant over time. By the way, you don’t have to visit a real-world store to pick up Windows 7. Just download it from Microsoft’s site. The default option is to download, but you can have them send you a “back up disc” when you download too, if that’s something you want.

As for install time, remember that your PC can do a lot more than your phone, tablet, or console. Its OS is designed communicate with millions of other devices, and a huge part of an OS installation on a desktop or laptop is drivers and other libraries that let you use a gazillion printers, scanners, cameras, networks, and all sorts of other stuff. Devices, at least currently, only need a fraction of those capabilities.

Reply
chuckstar22

Nice. I always wanted to do it.

Reply
mattjpoole

@robert lol – when all becomes hyperbole, perhaps straight talkers will be the ones to get the ad revenue.

Reply
brendan

Steven Jobs already made this clear. I agree with you and think Apple are changing the game with Face Time. What they have done is to simplify VOIP. If they have their way there will be no need to dial a number over a traditional cellular network within 5 years. Why will this change everything, because it is aimed at teens with the ipod touch. That will be adopted really quickly forcing an industry to provide simplified wireless VOIP solutions on their devices. When this happens anyone with an android device or apple ios device would be able to call each other. I know Apple is locked in right now so only face time to face time, but they could build their own “exchange” to allow anyone to anyone communication. Good bye cellular service providers, they have done this with music watch them do it again, thats my prediction, love or hate Apple.

Reply
chuckstar22

@brendan, The end of the Phone Number. A prediction. 🙂

Reply
san1t1

Surely this should be titled the end of shrink-wrapped software?

Far as I can tell auto-updating operating systems are still software.

Reply
chuckstar22

@san1t1, I considered it. I think the word ‘software’ is being deprecated in favor of “application”. Although we developers might know it as software, the majority of growing users now know it as apps. I think of software as something physical I need to buy and install. I think of device/mobile OSs and Apps as something all together different — although we know the DNA of it is much the same.

Reply
brendan

Yes I think I stand corrected cellular providers will just become wifi providers. And did I just call Jobs Steven? OMG. I just predicted that he will want to be called Steven or maybe Mr. Steven 🙂

Reply
Peter Boughton

Applications are software.

It doesn’t matter if some people don’t use the word software, or have a broken understanding of what the word means, applications are software.

All the while software/firmware/hardware continue to be meaningful and useful distinctions, the terms will not die.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *