Tuesday, 31 May 2011

An idea: a DockBook

A DockBook looks like a laptop or netbook or a portable DVD player or a TV - who knows.

Update 7/9/2011: It has sort-of been done.

It is probably a dumb device: a screen, a keyboard, a battery, USB ports, SSD, ... whatever you like.

On its own, it may do nothing (but it could have some functionality, but this is not the main function).

Where you might expect a trackpad to go, it has a square-ish hole - call it a 'docket'. In this docket you place a sabot that is specific to your phone. This sabot allows your phone to be held neatly and firmly in your DockBook.

A separate sabot could be provided for a second phone battery - again, an open interface.

A DockBook is just a collection of peripherals that allow you to do more with your phone.

Your phone provides CPUs, GPUs, touchscreen, broadband interfaces, WiFi, GPS, accelerometers etc. And your DockBook provides, perhaps, a full-size keyboard, large screen, camera, speakers, mics, power and other interfaces not found on your phone.

A DockBook could simply be a car-dock or an alarm clock. Perhaps a tablet too. The docket might have different forms for different Docks: a flat one for a netbook form or a vertical one for an alarm clock. The sabot might wrap around all of your phone or just its base.

Your phone is a powerful computer and phones will get more powerful. But for some tasks you need a keyboard, mouse, bigger screen, or a holder to keep it in a particular position.

A DockBook sabo provides a charging interface to your particular phone and Bluetooth provides communications to peripherals. Perhaps inductive charging?

While you are working you might get a call - just un-dock your phone and answer the call. Or you could answer it while docked and use a DockBook's microphone and speaker - hands free.

Imagine apps on your phone displaying specific buttons that can be touched making your docked phone a smart, reconfigurable touchpad - a menu system perhaps, or slider control. Perhaps a scrolling list of things to select?

Another DockBook could be a Digital SLR camera: your phone provides GPS, and internet connectivity and your camera dock provides lenses, flash and focus system.

What about a mouse dock? your phone becomes a touchpad for your PC or perhaps your phone's accelerometer can be used just like a mouse? While you are at your PC your phone is charging and enabling applications to work with your phone in a new way.

Imagine a docket that configures your car to your particular preference: temperature, seating position, mirrors and music.

It all needs to be open so companies and individuals can make a Dock for a market or niche use. It should work with any phone - not just an iPhone or an Android phone.

Some other docks: a games console like a wii or a PSP; a printer; braille terminal; a tablet; lego mindstorm robot; synthesizer; printing calculator; desk phone; chess board; ePaper book reader; projector dock; digital radio; car/plane/train seat dock;