“It’s 1984. You turn on your brand new 128K Macintosh and what do you see? A virtual desktop with files, folders and a trash can. The core metaphor is built around applications that edit documents stored locally. After all, the Internet isn’t part of the picture. You’re a computing island and your new computer isn’t intended for communications.

Now, it’s 2006. You turn on your brand new wireless laptop (with a gigabyte of memory) running Windows or Mac OS X, and what do you see? A virtual desktop with files, folders and a trash can. Really, nothing significant has changed—even though literally everything has.”

The Messaging News article that I wrote last year is now online (see p. 43). In it I talk about Laszlo‘s new Webtop product, although I couldn’t mention it explicitly since it was under development and unannounced at the time.

Also, after reading Martin LaMonica’s perspective on the geekiness of WebOS, I wrote yesterday on the Laszlo Mail blog about some of the motivation behind Webtop in the context of Laszlo Mail:

“…I gotta wonder whether the Web 2.0 crowd is missing the point. We’re not creating elements borrowed from a traditional OS desktop on the Web out of sheer technical exuberance. The web has out outgrown its standard page paradigm with simple, serial transactions….The real WebOS work going on supports what regular folk just expect from the web. Why wouldn’t a web application work just like any other software? People are seeing rich, dynamic graphical user interfaces when they use an ATM. They certainly don’t expect any less when they go to their bank’s web site.”

What do you think?