We have a problem on our hands – device proliferation. If you work in IT like me it is likely that you suffer from having a plethora of heterogeneous devices: a work laptop, a work desktop, a home desktop or laptop, a smartphone, an ebook reader, and a tablet…and that is just the short list. You might have a work phone and a home phone (cellular I mean), a separate GPS, and so on. Too many devices costing too much money with too many silos in which information is contained.
I’d like to suggest a Unified Smart Device (USD). There are some devices which are beginning to head down this road – but none which have gone nearly far enough or well enough. I’m thinking of the Motorola Atrix and the Asus Transformer for example. These devices allow one to integrate a smartphone and a computer or a tablet and a computer – but that’s it – leaving, still, far too many devices. Not to mention that the processing power in either of these devices isn’t going to be sufficient to replace one’s main laptop/workstation if you do much serious work.
So…here is my thoughts on a USD:
- The smartphone seems the logical base product. It is what we carry with us absolutely everywhere.
- Buying a smartphone should let one “transform” into any of the other devices – desktop, laptop, ebook reader, tablet.
- The smartphone is smaller than any of the other devices and thus can fit inside of any of the other devices, all other devices thereby become shells (with a few exceptions).
- Want to walk and read or watch? Insert your smartphone into your tablet’s bay and you are up and running.
- Want to read for an extended period of time? Insert your smartphone into your ebook reader’s bay and experience eInk.
- Now in the case of desktops and laptops we have traditionally faced another problem – the same problem that confronts most folks who work on both a desktop and a laptop – namely, the sheer performance power of a desktop cannot be matched at a reasonable price by more compact devices. How do we fix this?
- The smartphone slides into a bay in the desktop or laptop, just like in a ebook reader or tablet, BUT…
- The desktop or laptop has its own hardware, the smartphone becomes “dumb” providing access to the data on the phone, but using the primary device’s power or it takes a supplemental role in performance – picking up slack for the main desktop/laptop hardware.
This could provide a win-win situation for manufacturers and consumers. Manufacturers would reduce the costs of their hardware (due to less components) and increase sales (due to a tendency to purchase from the same manufacturer across devices). Meanwhile, consumers (including businesses) would benefit from a unified solution at a reduced price due to the simplification of components. For example:
- The eReader would no longer need any intelligence or storage, it would just relay the data on the smartphone to an eInk screen.
- The tablet would also require no intelligence or storage, resizing the display to the larger tablet screen.
- The laptop would not need a hard drive, or at most would need a smaller hard drive (probably SATA), as it would be able to utilize the smartphone’s internal capacities.
- The desktop would be able to utilize a slower (probably SATA) hard drive since the main OS would be contained on the smartphone.
I’m just saying… 🙂