HTML5 OS is set to disrupt platform lock-in

Sep 18, 2011 by Nancy Owano weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- A Canada-based startup founded in November 2010 arrived at TechCrunch Disrupt last week to debut its "HTML5 operating system" called Carbyn. To get this system, there is nothing to install; you use your browser and you log in to Carbyn and you're on your way. Beyond being an app, beyond being a web store, it is described by its founders as an operating system that happens to be app-focused. "It means you can get it on any device, they add, and "it means buying the cheapest tablet that gets you online so that you can get everything you want through your browser."

Jaafer Haidar and Jason Miller of Carbyn, whose mantra is "Go ahead. Just operate," showed their creation, featuring a cross-platform experience, using both the and Playbook in the Disrupt show demo. Smartphone functionalty is planned some time in the future.

Carbyn enables consumers to get all the apps they enjoy in one destination, on any device, whether iPad, Blackberry , or others. For companies developing HTML5 applications, Carbyn is aiming to provide a wide-reaching , according to Haidar, CEO and co-founder.

As for apps, once you have Carbyn, you are able to pin any app to the main screen. You get a familiar-looking panel of available applications. Existing HTML5 apps are easily portable to the Carbyn system, in less than half an hour, according to Carbyn, and specialist apps can be created from scratch from a custom SDK.

Features of Carbyn also include multitasking capabilities and app-to-app communications. In other words, applications can talk to one another."We're exposing an underlying file system messaging layer so that we have app to app communication. One app can tell, if it's a phone app, let's say, Skype can tell the music app, 'hey, stop playing I'm getting a call,'" said Haidar.

Also noted was how developers can port their HTML5 applications to Carbyn with litte effort. In fact, attracting developers was one of three goals that Haidar and Miller had in appearing at the show. Partnering with developers to tailor apps for Carbyn will be important to Carbyn's growth. The second goal was getting the word out. "You don't have to download anything, just go to the web site...we want to go nuts with this," Haidar said in an interview at the show. The third was attracting money. Haidar said the team had been bootstrapping the startup since its founding and was now seeking funding.

Explore further: Download woes and HealthKit flaw bite iPhone software

More information:

www.carbyn.com
techcrunch.com/2011/09/15/carbyn/
www.mobilemag.com/2011/09/13/c… rst-html-5-cloud-os/

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User comments : 13

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sherriffwoody
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 18, 2011
Am I right in saying you must have an internet connection? If thats the case I won't be using it. There are still way too many places where in New Zealand there is no internet. Maybe in the future when the entire world is one big wifi unit.
Phaze
1.5 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2011
it works offline according to there site.
that_guy
4 / 5 (6) Sep 18, 2011
Yeah, you should be able to save it. But in its current form, what would be the benefit? You can already use HTML5 apps...

It's no different from chromeOS, except that you need to have an OS already, so doesn't that make it redundant?
tigger
not rated yet Sep 18, 2011
Sounds like a Ruby on Rails style attempt... interesting idea but ultimately limiting and causes serious problems after it's too late to back pedal. Woe betide the development teams who jump on this band wagon.

As has already been stated, Google Chrome OS have nailed this framework the right way by packaging as a self contained OS.
Vendicar_Decarian
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 18, 2011
Is there nothing these Socialist Canadians can't do?
krwhite
5 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2011
It would seem to make more sense as an app platform than chrome OS, since the 'OS' could be accessed from any computer browser. Want to switch to firefox, or opera? You don't lose your 'apps' in that case. I think it's a good idea.
nxtr
5 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2011
what is promising about cheap? Cheap has consistently failed me. I doubt that this will be an exception.
xvi
5 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2011
This ain't an operating system, but more something like a 'desktop service'. You still need a browser to access this service and the browser needs to have... an operating system.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2011
People just keep trying to make these web-based OS's, but they are useless without the internet. I think that we still need to be able to do things without being online, and to make an OS that doesn't is a waste of time. I like the format they are using - HTML5. Has anyone noticed that Adobe Flash has become the most important part of the internet? It can make or break any device!
that_guy
1 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2011
@xvi - Very well put
@krunoloss - Some of them, like this one, can be used offline as well. A persistent internet connection is not necessarily required.

The main issue we're taking with it, is that you need an OS that already does everything this one does, in order to run this OS.
Temple
not rated yet Sep 19, 2011
The purported 'dream' of platform independence requires one of the following:

A) The operating system and software is so watered down, using so little of the supported hardware that it can function identically on a wide range of hardware devices.

or

B) It can only be installed on a very specific set of hardware.

--

Neither of those are going to gain huge traction among consumers.

I find the whole idea of trying to eliminate platform dependence a bit of a folly. Having competing hardware and OS manufacturers is a *very good thing*. Competition breeds innovation.

Now that there are several players in the OS and mobile computing space, we're seeing dramatic improvements. While it may suck that software you like is only available on one platform (or worse, it is available on two platforms, but the company requires you to buy it twice), it is the variations between the systems that are driving the overall evolution of the technologies.

I like healthy, innovative competition.
packrat
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
I can think of one good use for it. E-readers that have a web browser. As long as you have a connection you can use a cheap e- do do stuff.
dh1148
not rated yet Oct 04, 2011
Looks like a move toward a cloud OS, but the primary difference between this idea and Google Chrome is that you need another operating system already running, which is sort of redundant. It does seem very convenient though for some things, as long as it performs well on lower-end devices and in offline-mode. Cross-compatibility is a plus.