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Subject:  OT: A few thoughts on gadgets Date:  12/13/2012  11:51 PM
Author:  OrmontUS Number:  411262 of 461129

I'm looking at the pile of portable electronic stuff which I currently use for one purpose or another and there is a clear overlap to the point of almost silly redundancy.

This pile includes (one or more of):

1) Laptop (11" screen) (with camera, external bluetooth GPS, SIM socket)
2) 7" tablet (with GPS and camera)
3) 10" tablet (with GPS and camera), SIM socket
4) Kindle (tablet with live SIM and WiFi)
5) GPS
6) Smartphone (with GPS and camera)
7) Camera with GPS and compass
8) Wrist watch with compass

Clearly there is a better way this could be handled.

So here's my thoughts (to a certain extent this depends on how much of a toy's battery goes to the CPU and how much goes to the screen):

If we build the CPU into a package similar to the old belt mounted "beeper" (say the size of a pack of cigarettes), this would allow us to reduce the weight and bulk of the I/o device. This CPU could communicate to the I/O device(s) by a wireless connection (similar to Bluetooth, but higher bandwidth) using a thin client model (only passing screen updates and "keystrokes" similar to let's say PC Anywhere or LogontomyPC).

The CPU would be sort of a combination of the cloud based model that Microsoft/Apple/Google are trying to force and the more powerful laptop model. It could contain, for example, the CPU chip, a 1.8" SSD, 4GB ram, the graphics processor, a SIM socket for 4G, WiFi modem (this might also work for the I/O function?), I/O wireless, GPS, a few legacy ports to use desktop peripherals and a battery.

This would allow the choice of screen size to be tied to the task or the user's preference. One might (probably would) own a number of screen sizes (and keyboards or other input/output devices like smart eyeglasses) which would be compatible (and which could migrate to newer model CPU's similar to how we can currently keep keyboards or monitors if we upgrade PC's).

A typical screen would include a battery, a graphics processor only powerful enough to display the signals sent from the CPU, an I/O processor for the touchscreen and a wireless transceiver matched to the CPU. This would allow it to be much thinner (probably in the 2-3mm range) and lighter than those found on tablets today.

With the possible exception of high end photography (because of the limitations on tiny lenses - though this could be addressed in other ways, such as building the lens alongside a pair of "smart eyeglasses"), this would allow all of the capabilities of the above pile of stuff to be built into a small unit carried on one's belt (or in one's purse) and a screen-I/O unit matched to the application.

The downside of the above design is twofold:

1) It is equipment efficient and would mean far fewer gadgets would be sold by the manufacturer (or at least cheaper "commodity ones would be sold), so profits would be reduced

2) Its flexibility allows the user to move outside the portion of the cloud that the manufacturer wants you focused on (Apple-iTunes (no memory expansion slot on tablets, locked in source for software), Microsoft surface-Microsoft Store (locked-in source), Android Nexus - Google store (to the extent that their new tablet does not have a memory expansion slot available), Kindle - limited expandability and locked in software source.

This is obviously a fight between the manufacturer's trying to maintain profitability at the expense of flexibility and the end users who, not being able to dictate the devices which would best suit them, are reduced to the trivial jailbreaks and rooting to get at least a bit of independence.

Jeff
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