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10-11-2011, 18:45   #1
floyd.pepper
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Future of personal computing

So, I've been following the recent advances in mobile phones and I am increasingly confident that they will completely wipe out regular laptops and PCs as we know them.

I see the future as follows: Mobile phones will be become more powerful (although we are already entering the age where we have quadcore processors in phones) and also have much longer battery life (there have been some exciting promises made by battery manufacturers recently that have yet to see the light of day).
As phones become more powerful, they will replace not only our home entertainment systems but also our work laptops too. Image the following scenario: You get up in the morning to your phone alarm. You check the news, weather, stocks on your tv (which is taking the data wirelessly from your phone). You go to work and pop your phone into a docking station where you can use your monitor and keyboard to write docs, do email etc. For anything that requires more processing power, such as compiling code, rendering 3D images, processing video, your phone simply connects to a cloud of processing computers.

you leave work, your phone reminds you that you need to pick up some shopping. You use your phone to make the payment. As soon as you enter your house, you go to your stereo system, which has wireless access to all your tunes on your phone to play some music. then you decide to watch a tv show, again streamed via your internet connection on your phone to the tv screen. If an important work email comes in, it pops up on your tv and you can quickly pull out your wireless keyboard and reply. You can also quickly check on any work processes that are working in the cloud and then quickly switch back to Eastenders, right where you left off.

I mean, I don't think this is too far from where we are right now anyway. These days people sit on a couch and check their phone while they're watching the box.
This is just a simple, everyday scenario, I haven't even touched on some of the healthcare monitoring softwares that are being developed for phones or other things like banking, exercise (using the gyroscope of the phone to play wii like games).

The common thinking was that we are moving to a time when we have multiple computers all interconnected. I've read that we moved from Mainframes (one computer, many people) towards ubiquitous computing (one person, many computers). However, I think that we only need one computer with multiple interfaces.
So if anyone wants to start up a company with me, I'm going into the manufacture of mobile phone periferals.

So, what do you think?? What's your own vision of the next 10-15 years.

Last edited by floyd.pepper; 10-11-2011 at 18:55.
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11-11-2011, 00:08   #2
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Your phone will never have the processing power to stream movies to your TV. The reality is with Netflix coming to Ireland you will see TVs that will stream films over the net coming out (like there is in the states), you'll need wifi for your TV to stream movies (some TVs already have wifi). Not to mention your phone will never have the space required to store movies in HD - and forget all this 'store everything in the cloud' crap.


A phone is good when you are out and about but it will never overtake a PC or laptop. The same with tablets, they have there place as casual PCs but I would never type up a report on one for work. Not to mention it won't run most accounting software for instance - so you'll never see it in a business.


Getting an email on my TV isn't my idea of privacy either, keep your emails on your PC or phone. PC/Laptop, tablet and phone all have their places and I think they'll stay pretty much the same as they are in the next 10-15 years. I don't care what battery enhancements come out, with increased processing power comes increased power consumption.


You paint a rose-tinted picture but everything will probably get faster but stay much the same...
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11-11-2011, 03:53   #3
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Your phone will never have the processing power to stream movies to your TV.
iOS Airplay does this today via AppleTV.
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11-11-2011, 03:56   #4
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Your phone will never have the processing power to stream movies to your TV.
My phone can do this. (Lg optimus 7)
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11-11-2011, 04:02   #5
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and then quickly switch back to Eastenders
damn I was all excited about the utopian future until that line.
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11-11-2011, 14:01   #6
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My phone can do this. (Lg optimus 7)
Ah were not talking blu-ray quality with 7.1 DTS-HD though are we?
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11-11-2011, 15:22   #7
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Ah were not talking blu-ray quality with 7.1 DTS-HD though are we?
Yes. Well, the iPhone definitely can stream HD Video content as good as Blu-Ray. Can't find info on the audio, but there's no reason why it can't.

The issue with streaming content is that conversion/interpretation is typically done on the sending device. A phone hasn't the power to do that. So the phone just sends a raw data stream and any necessary fun stuff is done by the receiver.
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11-11-2011, 23:53   #8
floyd.pepper
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so the three major issues that might block my view of the future are:
1. Processing power of phones
As I already said, phones are getting extremely powerful. We now have quad core. Plus, with last years nobel laureates working on the commercial use of graphene, we could see processors advance many-fold within the next 10 years.

2. Streaming bandwidth
I think everyone has already mentioned that this is possible even now....and who knows what's the next technology that will replace bluetooth.

3. Eastenders still going in 10 years
You got me there, this is a major road-block in the advancement of mankind. At least Kat may have quit at that stage.

You also mentioned privacy issues with having your email on a TV. The TV will just be the peripheral, the email will stay on your phone. Why pay to have a wifi receiver and processor in your TV, when you can have the wifi receiver in your phone and the distribute through a higher fidelity streaming protocol.
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12-11-2011, 00:09   #9
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Of course the PC is dead, but I don't think laptop is ever going to die, unless the mobile phone can have a full sized qwerty keyboard and a 17 inch monitor.
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12-11-2011, 01:41   #10
asif2011
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Why pay to have a wifi receiver and processor in your TV, when you can have the wifi receiver in your phone and the distribute through a higher fidelity streaming protocol.
You pay for the wifi receiver because your telly can access 10,000+ films and tv series that you would never be able to store on your mobile phone. Nor should you drain the battery on your phone streaming films or TV series that your telly could just as easily transfer itself. Would you be transfering films through a phones 4G connection? Vs a home broadband speed of 100Mb or more.

At the moment the maximum amount of storage for an iPhone is 64Gb, a computer's hard drive can hold 3000Gb nearly 50 times greater and more with multiple hard drives. The biggest laptop hard drive is 1000Gb. No matter what you store on a mobile you will be able to store more on a laptop or PC. I know someone with nearly a 1Tb of music, you would never get that on a mobile.

Maybe you are the next Jonathan Ive, I don't know, but I'd bet Intel will have more to say with keeping the PC alive as it exists today than anybody else. Laptops are not a patch processing wise compared to PCs, it's a heat issue, much the same that mobiles will be limited in that regard. Anyway good luck with your visions of the future... I'm going just sit back and enjoy the ride...
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12-11-2011, 05:15   #11
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@JJJJNR: That's why I said that peripherals are the way forward. You could dock the phone, same way as you dock a laptop, and use a full keyboard and monitor...or whatever we'll have in 10-15 years time.

@asif2011: You're perfectly right that today's 4G network cannot compare to a high speed cable connection, but I'm pretty sure that will improve in the next ten years. You say that you pay for a "wifi receiver because your telly can access 10,000+ films and tv series that you would never be able to store on your mobile phone" - I'm confused, the wifi receiver won't enable you to store 10,000+ films on your TV, it will allow you to access them from the web. But right now, I can stream RTE player on my phone over wifi and it looks OK to me.

Someone also mentioned that there is a place for mobile devices, tablets, laptops and PCs. To me they all comprise of basic hardware: processor, RAM, memory and graphics ...everything else is just packaging and user interfaces (keyboard, screen, mouse, touchscreen).
There is no reason why a device needs to be able to store huge amounts of data locally, all it needs is to be able to access the 'right amount of data' in a timely way so that the user can interact with it. Take medical image data, which is 3D+time, doctors don't need to download the entire dataset to view on their mobile device, they just need to get the rendered image. The reconstruction of the data into the rendered image can be done server side.

The main reason i started this thread was to blue sky some ideas. I had hoped that others would join in with their blue sky ideas as well. I, for one, hope that we're not using the exact same devices in the exact same way as we're doing now in 15 years time.
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12-11-2011, 11:45   #12
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Phone processors are not powerful, they are not even slightly comparable to the current range of x86 cpus or graphics cards and due to power limitations its a long time before they ever will be.

Virtualization is the way forward, your phone as a transceiver for a image and audio only. The entire OS and storage hosted externally. This could carry across your entire range of devices(laptop, netbook, desktop, phone, tablet, TV etc...). No settings ever lost, two minute fix for any issues, no data loss ever, seamless integration between all devices.

That's the way forward and in terms of tech and availability its starting to happen. At this stage we are waiting on wireless technology to catch up to usable levels.
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12-11-2011, 18:04   #13
asif2011
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Originally Posted by floyd.pepper View Post
There is no reason why a device needs to be able to store huge amounts of data locally, all it needs is to be able to access the 'right amount of data' in a timely way so that the user can interact with it. Take medical image data, which is 3D+time, doctors don't need to download the entire dataset to view on their mobile device, they just need to get the rendered image. The reconstruction of the data into the rendered image can be done server side.
The simplest way I can put it is, we will store whatever is important to us (photos,music) locally; whatever we consume (films,tv series,games) we will download; and whatever we think is important to someone else we will upload (facebook,youtube). Simple.
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12-11-2011, 22:00   #14
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Well in the cloud all the hard processing is done by the systems in the cloud, so the actual phones don't need to be that powerful, Cuddlesworth theres an android remote desktop application called Remote RDP available now. You can connect to any system running that protocol in 32bit colour with audio, and also has full keyboard and mouse support, the future is not mobile phones thats now, the future is organic nano processors with a human interface.

Last edited by JJJJNR; 12-11-2011 at 22:03.
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28-02-2012, 05:43   #15
floyd.pepper
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I'm just reading back over this thread again after a few months. My ideas haven't changed and since getting the new galaxy nexus phone, I'm more convinced than ever that phones will have the hardware to process/relay the information received through peripherals.
I see Samsung are talking about using a flexible screen..again this goes with my vision that the interface may change but we only need one device that will process information or relay it to the cloud.
Bump :-)
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