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Old 03-14-2005, 06:08 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Looking for the perfect mobile form factor

Did you ever ask yourself what would be the perfect form factor of your favorite mobile device? Russ did some nice drawings depicting how form factor varies among popular mobile devices today.

We've converged just about everything we can converge into a single device (computers, gameboy, audio, video, GPS, etc.). Now they're just going to get better and more usable and "more converged."

Having read Russ's insightful thoughts, I came to one conclusion: there will never be a converged device that could offer all the benefits of mobility such as currently offered by individual dedicated devices.
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Old 03-14-2005, 09:30 AM   #2
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I agree that it is an impossible task to find a perfect form factor for every mobile application. And I don't think it should be necessary. Did you ever see a paperbook in TV format?
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Old 03-14-2005, 12:46 PM   #3
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I agree that form factors are v. important and in many cases are the "decider" for a lot of customers.

Much work is now going on to deliver a very small compute/capability kernel which can be inserted into different form factor "shells" as required. Think of it as a fully featured PC (not a pocket pc) and a multi-band mobile phone and a media player all on a device about the size of a PCMCIA card (but its def. NOT a pcmcia card!

This device is then inserted into whatever shell the user fancies - phone shaped (whatever that means - but it probably has good tactile digit keys for a starter!) Currently the device slides into a test phone behind the battery (its ablut the same size n shape!)

or - the device can be inserted into a shell with a bigger screen for gaming/reading/viewing. Even plugged into your 42" plasma when you get home.....New shells could be designed as and when required. And discarded when the HCI interface becomes dated...but the basic compute capability would still be valid. Shells available today contain powerful graphics sub-systems (or is it super-systems - lets settle on exosystems) and truly massive storage systems.

This means that the form factor is sorted...the content will be the differentiator of the future. Sound interesting?



I know that these will be "on the street" very very soon - be very afraid.....
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:18 PM   #4
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Very exciting potential, but I suspect the compromises due to an immature technology and other technology limits will make it either very expensive or of limited use. But in time, that's a very, very interesting possibility.

I suppose we're talking Linux?... It's a full PC, and making a guess based on limited computing resources to fit in a small form factor, and of course noting the post is under "Big Blue".
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:57 AM   #5
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Interesting postings. The trouble with keeping the technology inside fixed with different 'shells' is that this is the one part that keeps changing - why many poeple have the same PC box, but have upgraded all the contents. Most people would like to keep the outside device more or less the same, but be able to update the internal software and hardware.


There are a range of form factors in use today: primarily:
- minimobile ortable phone, pocket sized, essentailly wearable
- maxmobile - a chunky smart phone - need a bag or big pockets
- PDA/Gameboy size with variety of orientations
- PDA+/Webtablet - the size used by UPS delivery boys, train ticket sellers and many other clipboard technicials. They are often a basic PDA palmtop computer with a range extra features, such as printers, large screens, multi-wireless
- Laptop comptuer - comes in two sizes, has to be used on a flat surface, cannot be used in a crowded train,or on the street.
- The car - the world's primary mobile technology - increasingly equipt with computing power and wireless connections.

Many people today have several devices, even several mobile phones, and just take the one that is most relevent in terms of size and functions at any given time.
I agree that one of the main challenges facing the industry is how to get the personal portable device to interface directly with a range of input output devices, such as tv screens in the home, in the car, on the train.

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