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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Future of Mobile Computing

'Have you heard? There's yet another, new, computing solution device coming out (no, not the tablet), that offers a viable alternative to the current norm of having a big computer at home at your comfy desk, and another, portable computer, usually with you in your car or backpack, (and lately, another device - the tablet) and then, your smartphone, trying to “fill-in” some of your needs – if you remembered to sync it properly! This latest attempt to turn us into androids is the "dockable smartphone idea". Something we all knew would happen someday, but never imagined it would be this soon! Since the newest of smart phones are now as powerful as netbooks, and since most daily personal computing has come down to basic, simple tasks that any computer can handle, like documents, photos, music, and communication, why not just consolidate all of your computers into one, small but powerful, intimate, hand held device? A device with high-res graphics output, that plugs into your big monitor and keyboard and becomes your big comfy desk machine! And then, slides out of that dock, and into a portable screen/keyboard/battery “laptop dock” device as well?

Think of it, one powerful device, with a bright, responsive, 4” touchscreen, ultrafast processor, and 48 gigs of storage. Your whole computer, always with you. Always connected. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about multiple machines, and how they're all doing, whether they need organizing, syncing with each other, or antivirus protection? Wouldn't it be nice to not have to wait for them to boot up, shut down, crash, or need updates? And wouldn't it be great to have all your files, photos, music, videos, and web bookmarks with you at all times (and not worry if your laptop is safe in your hotel room)? I’m ready!! The first example of this re-imagined personal computer goes on sale this week via AT&T. It’s “The Worlds Most Powerful SmartPhone” featuring a dual-1Ghz processor and a whopping 1 Gb of ram! It’s from Motorola, (not a surprise) a company that is probably the oldest and most famous for quality, innovative mobile communications. There’s also a “multimedia dock” that hooks up to your big TV for showing your photos, videos, and other content in HD resolution, using the included remote control! There’s even an “alarm clock dock” for your nightstand, and a “bathroom dock” that remembers which news streams you like to listen to in the morning. “What’s up, dock?”- “How ‘bout a little NPR Morning Edition?”- “O.K.!…Thanks Dock!”

And, of course, each dock tops up the phone’s charge while it’s visiting. And, of course, the phone automatically switches to wifi when you’re home (or in any wifi zone) to save on your use of 4G data plan. When it docks as a computer, it launches a full version of Firefox for your browser, and if the phone rings while docked you can just use speakerphone or bluetooth headset. I played with this phone and it’s “docks” at CES for hours, and it pretty much ran just as fast as the netbook I’ve used for all my computing for the last two years (that I’m posting this with right now). One of the most impressive things about this product is how smoothly it handles being yanked in and out of docks. It never goofs up and drops your call or closes the apps you had open! And yet, while it does everything they say it will, it’s still not quite ready to replace our other computers just yet, in terms of pure speed and performance. So for those “early adopters” that try out this new “paradigm of personal computing”, I would suggest not giving away that old mac or pc just yet. However, it is the best smartphone out for now, and I believe it is the first example of the way we’ll be doing our ‘puting in the near future. Check it out at: