The modern computer model is based on two things: You buy a computer and then you buy the applications you need to be able to do the things you want to do. Want to write? You need a word processor. Want to edit photos or draw? You'll need Photoshop or something similar.
You own the computer and the apps, but about every two years, your hardware becomes obsolete, forcing you to purchase an entirely new computer. You own everything, but it constantly has to be replaced to keep up with the cycle.
A wildly different kind of computer is currently on Kickstarter, and it hopes to fundamentally change the computer/app business model. Solu (pronounced "sah-loo") brings three new ideas to the table that represent radical new ways of approaching the computer business.
First, this tiny computer that can fit in your pocket uses a brand new operating system that's built on the architecture of cloud computing. Solu has unlimited storage space, for example, because everything is stored in the cloud. You never have to worry about backing up your work, because SoluOS backs it up to the cloud automatically. (It also works offline, and then connects everything back to the cloud as soon as you're back online.)
Second, there's the SoluOS user interface. The tiny device boasts an edge-to-edge touchscreen, so you can use it entirely independent of any other hardware. But you can also plug it in via its USB-C port to your own monitor and keyboard, and use it as a base station. Instead of a mouse, you manipulate things on your monitor with the Solu touchscreen.
But what really sets this UI apart is that it's not based on apps. It's based on projects, aka the things you create or do. For example, if you need to write a report, you just create a new report document right in the OS, and it pulls in all of the software tools you require to create it. Solu calls this a "human-machine interface," because SoluOS was designed from the start to function the way your brain does.
The third component is how it's structured financially. Instead of buying a device and all of the software that goes on it, Solu plans to use a subscription model. For $20 a month, you get one Solu computer and unlimited use of software, storage space, and backups — all three of which are designed to function automatically, without the need for your direct manipulation.
It remains to be seen how Solu plans to accommodate the two-year computer cycle, though there are several options. Users could be supplied with new Solu computers with faster processors and other upgraded components. Or perhaps Solu's cloud will be upgraded in ways that allow users' devices to keep up with current standards.
With twelve days to go left on its Kickstarter campaign, Solu has already nearly met its $216,000 (aka €200,000) goal, so the future looks bright for the company.