Millennials are killing everything: mortgages, Olive Garden, business lunches. And now, if France-based tech company Blade has anything to say about it, they may just kill hardware.
Ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show, Blade introduced its newest product, a cloud-based PC called Shadow. For those who aren’t knee-deep in tech news, a cloud-based PC means if you have a screen and an Internet connection, you can connect to Shadow’s remote operating system, which is constantly updated, crystal clear, and top of the line. You get insane computing power without actually needing the insanely powerful computer. That semi-functional Macbook you dumped in the closet four years ago? As long as its screen and Internet connection are working, hook it up through the Shadow box and app, and you’ve got yourself a beast of a machine.
Granted, this is mostly for the gaming crowd, who could use it instead of building their own supercomputers from scratch to get enough streaming power and play high-end games. And a cloud-based OS isn’t particularly revolutionary concept—Sony and Nvidia have dabbled in cloud-based systems in the past but couldn’t corral enough users in to sustain them. The heft that it takes to run it effectively, paired with the cost, was too much. But Blade offloads all the hard work onto partners. By outsourcing graphics to Nvidia, processing to Intel, and operating to Microsoft, Shadow is a bit of an Avengers-style power team.
And it’s all in the style of Netflix. Just like renting a library of movies or TV with a streaming service, with Shadow you’re essentially paying a monthly fee to lease a computer and a level of power that’s absolutely unreal. The opening cost for a year of service is $34.95 a month, or about $420 (nice) a year. Compared to the outright cost of a new, high-powered PC, the savings can be significant, and it doesn’t require longterm commitment. Marketed as “the last PC you’ll buy,” the app will be available for Windows, Mac, and Android, on smartphones, smart TVs, and tablets. Service is available to select pre-order participants in California starting February 15, and will be available nationwide by this summer.
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If you’re not a gamer, Shadow is probably a little intense for day-to-day tasks—like owning a four-wheel-drive car in Malibu—but with one solid innovation typically comes many more. The future is looking subscription based, and the need to revamp that trusty laptop every five years will hopefully become a pain of the past. If you’re looking to rent an OS, be patient and look to the cloud.