CES 2009 TRENDS – Cloud computing

Cloud computing has been talked up massively over the past year, and it has taken centre stage at this year's CES in Las Vegas. But what's the big dea

What is it?

Cloud computing is a whole new way of doing computing tasks. The processing grunt of your desktop or laptop will be taken away and handled in web–based apps, using the big players' like Google and Microsoft's servers. It means devices can talk to each other and network far easier than ever before.

Why now?

Google and Apple have made tentative steps towards a cloud-based future, with the Big G leading the way with their Docs and Mail services. But now Microsoft has weighed in, we can expect the race towards a new way of computing to really start gathering pace.

What can we use right now?

Microsoft has been hyping up the capabilities of Windows Mobile to talk to your home PC. Fix your Pandora playlists on the move and they'll be there waiting for you when you fire up your desktop. This can work for Netflix too, as well as stacks of other apps.

What can we expect in the future?

The Big M has really been pushing Live Mesh, a new service which will let you access Microsoft Office apps wherever you happen to be farting about on your computer, that means editing whole docs, redoing presentations and tweaking spreadsheets from your home PC no matter where you are.

What other devices can get me up in the cloud?

Fugoo Live is set to offer up $99 devices which can slip into anything from photo frames to coffee machines and then talk to each other. It offers and affordable and easy way to network your home via the cloud.