When you look at a smart phone you see a sort of 21st century Swiss Army knife. It has a lot of functionality but every one of its functions are compromised (at least slightly) to cobble them all together. Perhaps it’s time to break them apart. If you did that with the knife, you could have a proper-sized set of scissors and just deep-six that bloody cork screw.
Looking at where phones are at right now, I think most can see that the mobile device world is having some growing pains. You can see it most when you consider the dimensions of the products available. People would really like to have a larger screen to run apps and do a bit of mobile browsing. This obviously bumps into the portability of the device and using it for calls. If it’s too big you can’t comfortably carry it in a pocket without anyone thinking your sumuggling paperbacks and it’s even harder to jam one in a small purse -not to mention holding the brick to your head for calls. Do you then have two phones? One that you can carry easily and the other the mini tablet?
Coming from the other side of things are tablets. Personally, I think the ideal size for a tablet is at least 10 inches. Most companies are aiming at 7 inches. This awkward size makes it just a little too small to do a lot of serious work, but also makes it even less portable than a large smart phone. Then they have a connectivity issue. Do you buy one with 3G? Play the hot-spot-hopping game with WiFi only? Buy both?
Finally, there’s the questions of etiquette. We all know that taking a call while talking to someone in person is pretty rude ( or at least we should ). Perhaps we also know that checking our phones every few minutes or every time we get the buzz of an update is pretty irritating as well. These actions also have an effect on our productivity. Our interconnectivity is not going to diminish in the future. The goal now is to take all these things and think about how we can change them for the better.
How would this look for a mobile device? I think the best way to think about it would be to make our persons a portable network. We would perhaps carry a ‘Personal Server’ that would really be the link to outside networks like 3G or WiFi and the connector to a number of peripherals, like a handset or a Status Monitor, perhaps even a tablet or some devices we haven’t even thought of yet. If we separated all of these components we could choose which items we would like to bring with and which to keep at home or in the car.
There would be even more advantages to a selective constellation rather than a single device. By pushing updates to some sort of Status Monitor, like a wristwatch or a fob, we could diminish the need to always unpack the phone to check what all the buzzing is about, we’d also diminish the chances of toliet-bowling our phones.
Having a tablet to interface with your personal network would have a few advantages as well. The tablet would operate through your network’s connection, eliminating duplicity as well as perhaps pulling processing from the network server itself, making the tablet a much more affordable item. Perhaps then, you could have two – a completely unusable 7inch tablet you can barely use and a larger one for more pointed operations.
While it sounds great, what makes it better is that the accessories for the network wouldn’t have to updated when you’re finally at that point with your data plan. You could get that peripheral when you need it or maybe even want it really, really bad. Think about it: if we broke with the brick we could finally drive fashion into our electronic accessories and maybe the world would be a slightly less irritating and connected world.