Everyone is busy yelling “to the clouds” at the moment and rushing to offload local workloads to computers in managed data centers. At the same time they are desperately trying to shoe-horn everything into the browser user experience because they are equating the whole idea of cloud computing with the concurrent hype about HTML5 and the new generation of browsers.
From the various document and image editors being ported to the web through to ChromeOS the browser obsessed operating system they are becoming more pervasive.
And they are wrong
They are not wrong that browser centric apps have their place but trying to squeeze a rich UI into the limited canvas presented by even the most modern of browsers is a compromise.
Try using Gmail and it’s calendar and contact partners then compare it to the Exchange experience. Contrast editing an image in Photoshop or Photoshop Express online. Try doing anything in a train tunnel or at 45,000 feet without paying for WiFi access just to review the presentation you’ll need when you land.
Xbox with their forthcoming online account sync capabilities; Office 365 hosted Exchange; Apple’s new iCloud all seem to have grasped this, in common with the apps on Windows Phone, Android and iOS. In all these the rich native experience extended by the ability to share, store and synchronize data so it’s available where the user needs it, when they need it outweighs an online only experience “best viewed” in a tab.
There’s power in the clouds, but it needs the tangible experience to make it truly the way forward.