Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spotlight On Technology: Carrying Your PC With You

With the trend toward packing more and more technology into your smart phone, the natural question to ask is: can they ever reach a point where they are as powerful as a typical desktop computer?

There are two obvious barriers to this becoming a reality.  One is that the technology much catch up to the point that handheld devices are capable of housing the same amount of memory and computing power as their larger counterparts.  The second is the user interface itself--having to dealing with a significantly smaller screen and input device.  The first will simply have to wait a bit longer, while the second can be overcome by making your portable phone serve as a docking station of sorts.. plugging in a mouse, keyboard and display and letting the phone serve as a PC.

The other important component in this is the software.  Fortunately, it sounds like those who create these devices are actually starting to prepare their products for the eventuality of this.  It appears that mobile devices are beginning to be designed so that they can run essentially the same operating system used in traditional desktops.  Apple's iPhone and Google Android have already started down this road, and Windows seems to be following suit with their MinWin OS that may be rolled out to their own devices soon.

This is exciting news, because it will greatly simplify the work of software development.  An app developed for a traditional Windows Mac or Linux client could run seamlessly on a mobile device, with some adjustments made for the smaller input and display.  Then, when it is docked to larger peripherals, it would be able to behave just like a normal desktop.  Aligning the operating systems as much as possible seems like a good first step toward making the phone-turned-PC a part of our future.

Read more about this in John Carroll's article at http://www.zdnet.com/blog/carroll/cell-phone-as-desktop-computer/1844.


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