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Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 7:53 AM

Wouldn't it be nice if a cellphone could be a computer? It would have normal cellphone abilities as well as computer abilities. It would have a built in virtual reality keyboard and a projector for a screen. One could use the cloud for a hard drive. Also, have a magnetic resonant proof hard drive down here on earth for back up. All of these things are available today, but I haven't seen them in one convenient package like a cell phone.

Have some fun today,

PAPADOC

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#1

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 8:20 AM

I bet this guys from Rasberry Pi is heading to that direction with interactive user creativity features, like some sort of Lego assembly.

Good morning PAPADOC!

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#2

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 8:57 AM

Welcome to 2016.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 9:25 AM

Thanks, every new year is a good one for me.

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#4

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 9:31 AM

I agree. It would be nice. I've long thought a keyboard alone should comprise the bulk of any future generation of computer. But lately I've been thinking along the lines of what you propose, but with even higher expectations.

Picture a watch that can be removed and placed on a surface in front of you, but instead of laying flat the band has a built in ability to hold the face of the watch in a monitor position. (perhaps a part of an air cooled heat sink) Raining the face of the watch enough to allow a virtual keyboard and mouse projected in front. At top of the face of the watch a pico projector throw an image onto a nearby surface or alternately to a Bluetooth connected phone/tablet etc. would act as a monitor.

A computer system with all the bulk of a watch not far off when compared to that of a phone. Both ideas would have seemed outlandish a decade ago, so I give it a decade before they're both commonplace.

Since the watch would be removed for this function as well as consuming more juice I would think a connection to a small usb power cell would be acceptable for more than a short amount of operation. update: add the option of a bluetooth connected keyboard/mouse!

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#5

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 9:45 AM

Excuse me but I'd like to hear the reasoning that a smart phone is not already a computer. Today's smart phone have more processing power, storage and flexibility than any of the "real" computers used in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. I sometimes use an open source spreadsheet program on my Android phone to correct entry errors at work.

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#6

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 10:29 AM

The future is here.....

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#7

Re: Cell phone as PC

01/18/2016 10:41 AM

They already are computers, you're speaking to functionally of peripherals that connect to or utilize the FLOPS of a chipset.

First, regarding screen projection - current projection tech does not allow for a device the size of a mobile phone - too much power consumption, light intensity, optics, heat, etc.

Regarding the cloud and your 'down here on earth' comment you know the cloud is just server farms, right? All hardware, located on earth. Limitations for 'cloud' storage are security and bandwidth - the more that is stored remotely - the more that has to be 'streamed' when accessed. We're going back to the Mainframe and Terminal setup with Cloud methodology.

As for everything else, you looking at advancements in peripherals and I/O, not just computing power.

FLOPS, TDP, Fab Size, Clock Speed, Cache, etc. between mobile chip sets and stationary (i.e. desktop and mainframe) chip-sets is an issue... they speak to computing power. And the design constraints of a mobile device will always make a mobile chip-set less 'powerful' than a stationary chip-set.

But I think the components necessary to project your virtual keyboard and the sensors that ID your finger position and communicate it back to the CPU are the real barriers at the moment, not the computing power of the mobile device.

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#8

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 12:52 PM

Most of my computer work is process intensive. We would need at least one or two orders of magnitude increase in processor speed plus video processor speed to be on parity.

I use one 30" display and two 22" displays straddling each side.

A projected image is not going to have enough lumens to be seen in normal environments.

I can't use the cloud for data space, so local memory is the only choice, but memory densities are not the problem, processor speed is.

Lastly, the energy requirements to run the processors and drive the display projector are going to be very high. You would exhaust current battery technologies very fast, not to mention the problem with heat management.

To sum it up, it's a nice idea for a sci-fi book, but current technologies lack the processing speed with ultra-low energy budgets to work inside a small physical package like that.

In another decade we should see something like carbon nanotubes replacing existing silicon or perhaps molecular computers which would meet energy budgets on the processing side.

As far as display technologies, I don't know. Perhaps enhanced VR style glasses will be the thing. They do something like that with the flight helmets for pilots of the F-35. Again, it will need to go through a few generations of improvement before it replaces desktop video screens, but there is nothing with the physics that is stopping that from happening in the next 5 to 10 years.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 1:24 PM

There will always be tasks that people will want just a little more here or there to complete the job. However, I still say a smart phone is a computer. It may not be enough for one or a few of your tasks but it is a computer.

As for processors not being fast enough today, I think the problem lies not in the processor execution speed of MIPS or even data access rates but in how our software has developed to maximize the number of instructions needed to complete a task. The art of tight coding seems to be lost.

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#16
In reply to #10

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 6:29 PM

Tight coding died (more or less) when hardware got fast enough and memory deep enough.

Current technology can make things only so small and run only so fast before you run into barriers like heat dissipation and power consumption.

Skirting this will require a leap in technological design, such as carbon nanotubes or molecular computing. A cubic inch of nanotube circuitry could theoretically be 100 million times the computing power of the human brain.

Inroads are being made as we learn how to create self-assembling circuitry, which is pretty much the only way we can tap into these potentials.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 9:18 PM

Apparently you prefer to blame a slow processor for taking to long to find the value of A times B when a programmer tells it to find the product by summation instead of by multiplication.

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#22
In reply to #17

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 7:51 AM

That argument is not even a starter. It's too simplistic for one thing.

For another, I already have a huge investment in software. What are you proposing, that I ditch all of that and start over with software yet to be written? You can guess who pays for that.

Any solution needs to address the current software and therefore needs to run it efficiently or it is a non starter.

Smart phones are barely acceptable for internet browsers, email, texting, and mindless games. That is my own opinion from personal experience. Tablets take it a step in the right direction, but still don't have the firepower or ease of use of desk top computers. Eventually that will change, but expecting the world to rewrite all of its software routines to accommodate slower performance and resource crippled processors is just not realistic.

All of that assumes that doing so will reach some form of parity with existing systems, which I rather doubt.

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#9

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 1:09 PM

Projector technology miniaturisation just isn't there yet. Modern solid state drives are finally cheap enough that they are replacing hard drives in many applications (including portable ones).

but I haven't seen them in one convenient package like a cell phone.

I doubt you will for a while. Who would pay say 2,000-4,000 for a bulky cell phone computer using existing technology (miniature projectors for example are expensive), there just isn't a market yet so it still makes sense to have separate smart phone AND accessory market.

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#11

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 1:40 PM

Why would you need projection capability, they don't work in the light, and flat screens are ubiquitous....it's easy enough to stream to any flat screen from a smart phone...and as for keyboards there are several that connect to your phone via bluetooth...who needs a keyboard larger than the one on a cell phone anyway...hot spots are everywhere, and LTE is even faster...at least on my phone....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcomiyOFK4k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4kR8iAdazo

video projector demo 7:03+

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQqU3UibxTE

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#18
In reply to #11

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 12:35 AM

"who needs a keyboard larger than the one on a cell phone anyway..."

I do, for one! I can't see the fine print on a screen that small, and my fingers don't move with sufficient precision to type on a phone "keyboard". As I said in another thread recently, I need tactile feedback (keys that actually move) so I can tell whether I have pressed one or not. Once they develop active haptic flat screens, I'll give them a try, but I want that keyboard/screen to be full sized (11 inches minimum width, NOT diagonal). Yes, I am an old fogey!

...and regarding connections, I have to go outside to use my cellphone, and even there the signal rarely reaches 2 bars. The aluminum foil on one of the layers of insulation almost makes my house a Faraday cage. If it weren't for the two picture windows, I'd have no reception in my house at all. I did buy a "microcell", but could not get it to work quickly, and never got around to trying again...

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#25
In reply to #18

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 11:26 AM

You need one of those new cars that has a hotspot, then you can take your show on the road, gas is cheap enough....Go get that microcell thingy working, your an embarrassment to geeks everywhere...perhaps you need motivational inspiration from a geek-in-training protege'....

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 12:09 PM

I'm quite happy to have a car just over 2 years old. I normally keep my cars around 10 years. It connects fine to my iPhone, but that of course only works within range of a cell tower. Unless the car hotspot uses a satellite connection (another fee to pay), it would not likely be much of an improvement for the phone. Of course I could set up my phone as a hotspot also, but again that would only help within range of a cell tower.

Once the car can drive itself and has a satellite connection (or other connection much more reliable than the cell tower network), then I'll be interested, because then I can use my laptop while getting to my destination. Hopefully that will occur in the next decade or so, because if I am still alive, somewhere in that time period I'll be reaching the age where it will no longer be prudent for me to continue driving.

"your an embarrassment" I don't have an embarrassment! "your" means "something belonging to you". Please use the correct term: "you're".

I've been considered a geek since before the term was coined, and have no problem with that!

I'm in my fourth quarter-century, and still doing geek work full time. I do most of that work on my laptop, which is rarely out of sight. I certainly don't need motivational help, except perhaps to get rid of most of my clutter...

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 1:27 PM

You're probably an inspiration to somebody out there, but you seem stuck in your own status quo......I guess everybody has to deal with clutter, that's why we have yard sales...and bulk trash days...

....HEY hold up there guys that fan still looks good!....

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 4:35 PM

These actually don't work that well due to the fact that no pressure is required, just location of fingers makes it easy to trigger the keys inadvertently, like typing isn't awkward enough....talk to text is no better....

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 4:52 PM

What we need now are cell phones in a Google glass head gear format with gesture control. We would have people walking down the street looking like they were fighting off a swarm of angry bees.

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#15

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/18/2016 4:59 PM

You have two options.

Use your computer as a phone:

VOIP

Or use your cell phone as a hot spot:

use-iphone-as-hotspot

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#19

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 3:16 AM

I don't want to sound old fashioned, but my Nokia 9110 had a keyboard, spreadsheet, word processor, database and reasonable screen size. So too the Nokia 9210.

My all time favourite the Nokia E7 added a touch screen and the ability to link to a full size monitor or a projector using HDMI.

I think the key issue is what function to optimise at the level of the operating system. An operating system that works for computing is not necessarily great for phone operations. My latest pet hate, a Nokia 930 with Windows 8.1 which makes it diffcult to phone.

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#20

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 3:40 AM

The actual generation of Android phones are computers capable of doing everything you want to do with a normal computer. I assume iOS is at the same level but I lack experience.

It has Word, Excel, Powerpoint and I'm sure if there would be a market the rest of the applications a normal W10 can run will be cross compiled towards ARM based systems (Android/iOS), MS has a good reason to stop supporting older processors in the future. It is preparing to build in multi platform support.

I can easily connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Imagine a screen that can be connected through a USB connector with a docking station for the phone: drop in the phone the screen activates and you get a normal computer desktop. As power is no issue (only cooling can get tricky) the 8 core processor can serve you well on the daily job.

In the evening, just take the phone which is fully charged and hit the road.

For more demanding tasks you can even run a remote desktop on a server. This is the chrome approach, which will be one of the next android evolutions (same operating system on the phone as on the laptop & desktop).

Security can be handled through the SIM card and the normal locking system in a phone.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 7:35 AM

That sounds like a real good system. However, one would have to carry extra stuff with them if they were to do computing on the road.

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#23
In reply to #21

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 8:12 AM

That's why I have a laptop.

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#28
In reply to #21

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/20/2016 4:14 AM

It depends:

  • If I really want to work I use my laptop = having a portable docking I can slide the phone in that offers a bigger screen and keyboard (+ additional battery).
  • If it is only to view some documents, looking up some things the screen of a phone size S6 is sufficient.

A universal docking system could enable me to sit at each desk anywhere to work as if on a normal computer, in the own operating environment.
The issue is driving the screen: too much bandwith is required for the actual USB standards.A Thunderbolt connector has the power to do this (PCI-Express + Displayport)A newer (Optical?) USB could potentially do it too.

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#24

Re: Cell Phone as PC

01/19/2016 10:03 AM

Not really a cell phone, but an interesting advancement in portable technology coming soon. Maybe bluetooth connectivity to the phone?

https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us/hardware

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