BlogWill mobile phones become the new desktops?
Will mobile phones become the new desktops?
The digital landscape has seen some interesting developments over the past few months. One of them is the continued success of Android, and the other is how much powerful phones have become.
Just from CES, there is a plethora of high end phones with 5 inch screens, 1080p resolution, quadcore processors and 2GB of RAM. To put these into perspective, that resolution is as much as my 41” full HDTV. And some laptops are still shipping with 2GB of RAM.
It is not a stretch to call these new phones smaller computers, as they all have excellent hardware, run almost a full work day and operate on increasingly powerful and versatile operating systems. Most of them can push HDMI video out and can pair with Bluetooth keyboards. It will not be long before you walk into work (or at home), drop your phone on a dock and start working.
Motorola already tried this with their Atrix phones which shipped with a separate linux distro on board, but the hardware was not powerful enough. But in 2 years since, we have doubled memory, display and cores on the processors. But ASUS has had some success with their transformer models, where phones can power tablet shells and which can in turn dock with a keyboard to become a laptop.
But the main inspiration for this blog comes from 3 different launches over the past year.
1. The $249 ARM based Samsung Chromebook (which runs Linux well when hacked)
2. Canonical’s push for a Ubuntu based phone OS (and other open-sourced OSes like Firefox, Tizen, SailFish and open webOS)
3. The $35 Raspberry Pi board
We are on a cusp of a period that could put high powered truly mobile computing in hands of the masses. We have apps in iOS and Android ecosystem for most of the day to day tasks. Mobile app developers are creating new apps every day. Just the way anyone can buy their own components and build their own desktop machine, times are not far away where anyone can build a hardware (or buy cheaper white box/ hackable hardware), and run their own OS of choice on it. With the developments made in 3D printing, and an ever increasing and passionate open source community, those days are not far off.
My ideal mobile future will be when I can go online and spec and buy a motherboard from multiple configurations, find a 3D design package for a phone(or design one myself) and print it, assemble them all together and run any OS I want on it. A less ideal but interesting future will be where I buy a whitebox phone (a fully configured and built phone without any OS) and install my favorite mobile OS distro on it. What will yours be?