Jolicloud, the company whose online operating system was doing personal cloud computing long before Google's Chrome OS ever existed, is today announcing several major changes to its core products. First, its cloud-connected operating system will be rebranded, changing its name from "Jolicloud" to "Joli OS," in order to avoid confusion with the company's other product, its online desktop.
The online desktop, a Web-only version of the Jolicloud interface, lets you access your personal files, folders and Web apps from a browser. Now that desktop, currently a Chrome Web Store app, will come to a number of new platforms, including additional browsers, the iPad and Android devices.
Coming Soon: Jolicloud on More Browsers, the iPad & Android
According to Jolicloud, the Web app will soon come to other browsers in addition to Chrome, including Firefox 4 and Safari 5. It will also arrive on the iPad, not as a native iOS application, but as an "experimental HTML5 port," which sounds like an interesting prospect. Android is on the company's roadmap, too, Jolicloud says, but this seems to be further off, although no exact dates were given.
Jolicloud says its mission is to create "the perfect OS for the modern Web," and cites some of its current stats. Over 300,000 users have a Jolicloud account and over 60,000 have installed the newer Chrome Web app. In total, the Jolicloud user base has installed over 3.5 million of the 1,000-plus online applications Jolicloud makes available in its Web app store.
The company doesn't offer much information beyond this, via its official blog post, but promises more details and screenshots of its 1.2 release, due out later this week, will come soon.
Jolicloud is in a unique position with its products these days. Originally designed as a cloud-connected operating system primarily for netbook computers, Jolicloud was previously pushing its software to early adopters as a way to jump on this new-fangled cloud computing craze. But recently, it repositioned its OS as a way to cloud-enable and speed up older machines, even those with as little as 348 MB of RAM. This is a whole new market to cater to: those folks who actually still have (or worse, maybe even use!) an ancient beige box of a PC. The company's rebranding effort should help avoid confusion among this group, it's hoped.
But for the early adopting crowd, it's Jolicloud's forthcoming mobile apps that have the most potential. For example, its iPad app, existing outside of Apple's official app store, could become the de facto marketplace for online applications that work in the browser, no download required. But how will Jolicloud handle multi-tasking between these Web apps on mobile devices, we wonder? Will it require you to open separate browser windows? How elegant will that solution be, when it rolls out? I guess we have to wait and see. Stay tuned.