In January 2010, I started to write a post about the future of device form factor… I never finished or published it. I wish I had now, as I would have actually looked more intelligent and insightful than I actually am! See below for the unfinished masterpiece…
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Form Factor Fads
We can cram computing power into all sorts of different shapes and sizes. The excitement of cramming powerful computers into devices we can fit in our pocket has created a huge global industry. Devices that know where they are and that are always connected have seen many innovations and uses.
The biggest problem is one of form factor. A device that fits in your pocket is often compromised on the display and input front. Even though an iPhone is an exceptionally capable device being worked on by millions of talented individuals, it still has some inherent limiting factors to its capabilities. Screen size and data input.
We see more and more niche products being released that all have different combinations of form factor. Different screen sizes to suit particular tasks. Different input methods to facilitate different types of application.
Users aren’t going to buy 101 different devices to meet all their different requirements. It’s wasteful and unnecessary. What needs to happen is a separation of computational device and display/input devices.
A computer that can sit in your pocket and be portable can be used to output content to any size monitor or display and can be attached to any input device imaginable. Your device can then act as an eReader, Personal Computer, Media Streamer, Word Processor, Catalogue etc etc Users can then make purchasing decisions about how they want to interact with their device and its data. With commonality of input/output interfaces, everyday objects, like TV’s, will immediately become huge lounge portals to any digital media.
Buying a bigger laptop will simply be a matter of buying a bigger shell – with keyboard and screen that your pocket device can interface with.