One of the big positives about cloud computing is reducing costs. As mentioned in another post, one of the savings is that smaller leaner equipment can be used, such as tablets and very basic PCs; because the data storage and much of the processing in done in the cloud.
I am pleased to report as 2013 dawns that I have been able to access my emails and stored documents on my Office 365 account using nothing more than a ‘Raspberry PI’ – costing about £38. This very basic computer aimed at the educational market, uses a Linux operating system and comes with three different browsers pre-installed. One of these ‘Midori’, is the only one with the functionality to display office 365. Using it I was able to check and reply to my emails, as well as open documents on SharePoint and edit these using Office web apps. For more information on the Raspberry PI see http://www.raspberrypi.org/
On the downside, the experience did prove quite slow; and with Office web apps there is less functionality than with a fully installed Office suite. But it does demonstrate that one can add users to a cloud environment quite cheaply.
Sure enough you need to have a spare monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. or purchase these. Some of the items cost a few pounds, but a new monitor would cost twice as much as the PI itself! But you can hook it up to a TV set.