Integrated Portable Devices

Posted Mar 28, 2012 at 11:36 am in Threads > Smartphones & Tablets

Phone docking into a tablet

Back at the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, I made a prediction that Integrated Portable Devices (IPDs) were the way of the not-too-near but not-too-distant future.

What is an Integrated Portable Device? Think ASUS Padfone. Think ASUS Transformer. Think the KT Spider concept devices. And then think larger where the integrated “addons” continue being compatible with future phones (so when you upgrade your phone, your tablet, laptop, and other things get “free” upgrades). Then think larger where your “addons” are cross-manufacturer compatible (your PadFone’s tablet display is compatible with your Motorola Atrix Droid 17). This also gets even more exciting with announcements like Canonical’s Ubuntu on Android.

Fast-forward to now and we’re starting to see these things actually take off in their most infant of stages. What we have next year will hopefully be significantly different, and better, than what we get this year but everything must start somewhere.

As I have had more conversations with people over the past year with this changing paradigm, I’m beginning to see that there is more to this than originally expected. Previously, the thought was, “Why wouldn’t anybody want something like this? They keep all of their technology yet it only gets better for “free”! Plus, this is the ultimate integration in multiple devices since there is no need to sync or share data.” But what I’ve been hearing has been a mix of that and “But I don’t want to have to give up my phone to use my tablet” and “I don’t want my daughter monopolizing my phone in order to read an ebook”.

Clearly, there will be the 35% of us who need 2 dedicated tablets or a dedicated laptop or even 3 different cell phones for various reasons. But there will be the 65% of us who never use more than a single device at a time that would GREATLY benefit by IPDs allowing their entire technology budget to be cut in half as well as many “data sharing” technical support issues being eliminated.

So I bring this philosophical question to you. Are you ready to have your cell phone power your other devices? Would you like to be able to buy a “10inch tablet upgrade” for your Galaxy Nexus for $150? Why or why not?

  • Taylor Wimberly

    Wow someone used the editor and linked to tags! I guess this makes me realize we really need to clean up tags. For products, we normally do manufacturer and the model. So asus-padfone, asus-transformer-prime, etc. But we also have lots of random tags that get thrown into stories. So when people link to the lesser tags, they are missing out on lots of stories that have the longer tags.

    Back to the post, I totally agree. Pretty soon our “phone” will power all our other devices. The official release of WiFi Display later this summer will speed things up. No longer will you have to worry about special docks, because everything will be wireless. Power consumption will still be an issue.

    • jaxidian

      RE: Tags: I linked to the ones that I first found via google searchs like “asus transformer” – I figured they were the most appropriate ones to use. But yes, a more unified tagging system would be ideal. And ultimately, maybe auto-tagging would be good. That way I don’t have to create the hard links to the sites’ tags but instead they get auto-inserted for me (this is really more of a service for you than it is for me).

      Another thought: have hierarchies within tags. Not for true hierarchy but for mapping back to a preferred tag. For example, if you prefer asus-transformer-prime but I use transformer-prime, your hierarchy system converts that to asus-transformer-prime for me. This way, your messy tags clean themselves up.

      (Yes, I realize you have 400 other things on your todo list. I totally understand.)

      Lastly, on the tags front, I added tags to my article yet I don’t see them. On the Edit screen, the Tags box was grayed out and empty. Bugs or intentional for now?


      On the article, for power consumption, hopefully additional power is something that these addons can provide for your phone (ala Transformer dock). But for the WiFi Display, that greatly simplifies the interface needed between multiple devices as long as it works seemlessly from phone to tablet dock or the like.