What is Cloud Computing?Welcome to the new world of cloud computing! For Android users the cloud plays a really important role, it will change the way you think about smartphones and PCs. Let's see what that means for you by first looking at the old ways of doing things:
Old wayIn the past you would use your phone to make phone calls and send SMS, perhaps you connected to the Internet using 2G or 2.5G (GPRS/EDGE) techniques, sometimes with WAP. Sometimes you would connect your phone to a PC using a USB cable, in order to get updates or to do backups of your contacts etc. But your PC was your main computing device in order to handle emails, surf the web, etc.
New wayIn the world of cloud computing your phone can be much more than a phone - this is explored in more detail in the next chapter. Although you can still use 2G or 2.5G, you'll get most out of the cloud computing experience if your phone is connected directly to the Internet using 3G or LTE ("Long Term Evolution" or 4G), or by connecting through WiFi.
Your phone may become your main computing device and you would then only use the traditional PC for certain applications where a keyboard and mouse are required. There are now Android tablets and iPads that can replace the PC for some of those tasks too. You may still connect your phone to your PC occasionally, but most of the time you will use your Internet connection from the phone to the cloud for many activities, in addition to the obvious phone calls, SMS etc. Here are some examples of using cloud computing from your phone:
- Synch your contacts, calendar, tasks and emails with your online Google account. This means you don't need a separate backup on your PC.
- Send text and photos you've taken using your phone straight to social sites, e.g. Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Use data-bases, servers and applications in the "cloud" to do searches, get the local weather forecast, book tickets, make payments, play multi-user games, etc.