old phone, new screen?

 Posted by on July 30, 2012 at 23:34  applications, internet, mobile  Add comments
Jul 302012

Can we use our old mobile phones to solve one of our greatest frustrations with our new Droids and iPhones and open up some new computing paradigms?

How? Split our smartphones into a client phone and a server phone. The client would run on our old phones – which would become our primary user interface for many actions. Our latest and greatest smartphones would be the servers and provide our UI with most of what we’d want to consume, especially for certain use cases.


About double battery life
Our server phones would still have screens, but we wouldn’t have to light them up as much – so sure for high resolution video but not for twitter and phone calls. Other (non-phone) devices could also serve as our clients/UIs. We’d end up with at least two batteries going towards what we fuel with one battery today.

New apps
App and media providers could push content to your client based on location etc (so the server would be a third party server, e.g. in a Starbucks). Ditto for objects like appliances, parking meters and sensors that will increasingly contain networked chips. This open up some new models and opportunities – although we can do similar with cloud based models today, this model would have less authentication/identification needs, latency and network overhead. Server phone when identity etc is desired/better, client when it isn’t.

Emergency backup
With a bit of cooperation from the carriers, the client phone should be able to make calls in certain circumstances…w/o incurring monthly charges. And/or a thin VoIP app on our client phones.

Less handling, dropping and cracking of $500 phones. Less opportunities for grab and run thiefs.

How many of our older phones are already rotting away in landfills? Increasingly these are powerful computers that we are throwing away or not re-using enough of.

I think we’ll see something like this in the future. The more UI use cases that comes off, the more “room” for other functions, with most of the smartphone control going to voice commands and simple gestures on interfaces that are physically separate from the processing, memory and primary networking and can communicate with other servers and the cloud in a different manner than our smartphones do.