Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon’s Silk Is More Than Just A Browser: It’s A Cloud OS for the Client


The Internet is on, er, Fire with chatter about Amazon’s new tablet, the Kindle Fire. It should be, because the birth of a credible iPad competitor is huge. In the long term, the most important part of Amazon’s announcement this morning isn’t the fairly vanilla tablet hardware or even the tablet’s spit-shined version of Android. What will really make waves is Amazon’s new web browser, Silk.
Silk is the first truly new, mass-market, client software delivery mechanism to be built from the ground up with the cloud—not just the web, but the cloud—in mind. But before we look at what Silk is, it’s helpful to take a quick glance at one thing it’s not.
The main thing that Silk is not, is Google Chrome. Chrome is essentially an OS in browser drag, and in this respect it’s very much a “fat” take on “thin client.” Google’s browser treats tabs the way that an OS treats running applications, and it walls them off from each other in separate processes so that problems with one tab don’t affect the rest of the browsing experience. You could sum up Google’s overall design approach to Chrome with something like, “the web is now an application delivery mechanism, and the browser is the OS that those apps run in.”
The fact that Chrome comes with such an extreme amount of OS-like baggage is what keeps it off of handheld devices. Devicemakers are much better off with a more traditional, lightweight browser like Android’s. At least, they were until today.
Like Chrome, Silk is a “browser,” and also like Chrome, it’s a lot more under the hood. Or, rather, it can be a lot more under the hood, depending on how you choose to use it.
Read the rest at the link above. 

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