Your phone at the centre of your life

Phones are getting scarcely powerful. The recently announced HTC One  for example is Quad Core, with each quad running at 1.7GHz! I’m sure that would easily give my laptop a run for it’s money and probably yours too. Check out these benchmark results

And of course this capability is set to continue, how long I wonder until your phone has the power to do everything you need?

Imagine This

Imagine this – your phone is your only fully featured ‘computer’, your only devices with high spec processors and RAM inside it, everything else is simply a thin client.

So let’s take your TV for instance. Instead of using the manufactures self-built crummy operating system on your TV, where you have to fiddle with an impossibly difficult remote control you simply use the phone and beam whatever you want to watch onto it. LG are already starting to think like this and have amazingly demoed one of their concept phones beaming ultra high definition 4k footage to a TV screen. Your TV then just becomes a screen again and at the same time can now be even thinner and lighter and more importantly cheaper.

Why stop there? Think tablet. Exactly the same could apply. Your tablet essentially just becomes a screen which is powered wirelessly by the smart phone in your pocket. You flick the on button and your phone appears onto your tablet. Then when your neck and arms are hurting trying to write all these emails as you sit awkwardly on the sofa you move over to your desktop screen and keyboard to finish them off. No turning on and booting up the PC followed by logging into your account you just flick the screen and it appears.

Now it wouldn’t just work in your home, take it anywhere. The office, your mother-in-laws, a client you are presenting to and you instantly access your ‘hub’ from whatever thin client / screen you want.

Issues need overcoming

Of course I’m not the only person to have thought of this and there are a number of hurdles to overcome beyond the processing power of your phone:

  1. Operating systems are optimised for the screen size and not necessarily converge well as you flick between devices. Current phone OS are very limited when compared to full PC version. However Windows 8 is very much of this vain and maybe even more so Ubuntu. Don’t under-estimate the complexity of this and there is a fine line between something which works and something which is too much of a compromise.
  2. People are more and more multi-tasking with 2 or more devices at once e.g. watching TV and tweeting about it at the same time. There is no way people will be content to make their phone inaccessible whilst watching TV so this puts even more pressure on processing power
  3. Battery life. The one thing we haven’t seen a particular revolution in phones yet is battery power. The high specs one already struggle to last a day and with this setup there wouldn’t me much idle time for them so battery power will have to improve significantly to stand a chance.

But the more and more I think about this the more I am convincing myself this is the future. There is of course a possibility that we may skip this and jump straight to the cloud at the heart of everything we could do. This would avoid the battery issue but wireless coverage will need to improve significantly to make sure it worked everywhere but this might just happen quicker than the improvements to battery power.

Oh well, just a thought, back to my independent Laptop, PC, Phone, Tablet, TV

Blackberry in the Balance

A lot has been written since BlackBerry (formerly RIM) announced the new BlackBerry 10 OS and their two flagship phones, the Z10 and Q10. I have read several reviews now and all seem to be surprisingly complimentary to BlackBerry on a decent phone and OS which stands alongside some of the current leading smartphones. Many cite the lack of apps as a concern and unfortunately that is just a symptom of BlackBerry coming so late to the party. However many also seem to have overlooked a key feature of BlackBerry’s new devices which could just be enough to save the company.

The BlackBerry traditionally has two main user groups, the young teenager who likes the low cost of the BlackBerry range and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and the business man who loved Blackberry’s approach to email. The feature I am talking about is squared aimed at the later of these two customers and is called the BlackBerry Balance. Balance basically splits the phone into two – one side for personal use and the other for corporate use. There are already an estimated 1 billion smartphones in circulation today and you can bet that is not 1 billion users. This is because many people, myself included, carry round 2 phones. One my own personal phone and the other a company issued one and this will be case millions of times over.

So how does BlackBerry Balance work?

Basically it segments the phone into two completely separate parts. The real appeal here is to corporate enterprises because it means the files and apps created on the work side are encrypted and not accessible by the personal side. The corporation can restrict and control what goes in to work side and importantly wipe the data at any point e.g. when you leave the company or the phone is stolen. It then leaves the personal side to be controlled and managed by the user.

This gets around most of the concerns which corporations have about Bring Your Own Devices To Work (BYOD) initiatives. Companies are happy then to issue these devices and consumers are more likely to chose them if they know their company supports them. Or that’s the idea.

An important point to realise here is that the 2 segments are completely separate so this means you will have to install an app twice if you want it both on your work side and personal side. Or even simple things like address books will be separate, it still really is like having two phones.

In my opinion this should be enough for BlackBerry to start saving some of their big corporate accounts and maybe even start to win some back. With increased demand apps will start to follow and BlackBerry will be back in the game.

This of course is not guaranteed by any means and I am concerned about the severity of the split on the phone and doesn’t lend itself to how customer actually want to use the phone. Ideally I’d want Balance to integrate some of work and personal sides together and it feels a bit to rigid at the moment but I do think gives BlackBerry a chance so let’s not write them off just yet.