- Dec 19, 2012
Let's just agree that Continuum in it's current form will face many problems right away:
- The need for special hardware on your phone for the feature to be activated will limit it's appeal.
- Much like MHL or microHDMI out the reasons people don't use wired projection are usually A. heat, B. battery drain, C. understandable lag
- wireless broadcasting relies heavily on the host network performance and sometimes it's just not viable at all
- There isn't enough power in any current phone to make the office experience PC like (Office is the only app I consider using continuum for, but i wouldn't mind photoediting, or video editing software, I would also love a programming language )
Now what if we invented something that solved all of the above problems without the need for top of the line hardware?
The answer is "External Processing", the idea was created to solve the same problem for Laptops,AlienWare announced a gaming laptop that can be hooked to an external unit to get the GPU performance of a desktop PC while still managing to get decent battery life and performance without that connection, and while that idea probably didn't work for Alienware, mobile stands to benefit most from such a method and here's why:
- ARM processors are dirt cheap specially since in such a product you won't need a fancy SoC as we only need raw CPU/GPU power and a Wifi chipset as our phones already have all the fancy sensors and features of a SoC, even the most generous of estimates (multiple CPUs/GPUs and a big 4gb ram would put that machine at 250$)
- ARM processors are almost always clocked down but in an external unit it doesn't need to be as it'll have more space to dispense heat and we can even install a small fan to get things running extra smooth
- Our smartphones won't heat up because all the heavy lifting is being done over the external processing unit.
- Not only will the battery enjoy the lack of heat and thus extended lifespan, but because of the external processing you won't lose your battery charge so you won't be afraid to use the feature if you're going out soon.
- If the external processing unit was fitted with a healthy 4GB of ram, I wouldn't be surprised if I saw old Unity games for PC show up on Continuum with mouse and keyboard controls or in other words THE DREAM)
- the added power will drive developers to take bigger bets on mobile, just imagine a fast full video editing experience on videos you already shot on that same phone in the dock.
- this product can be made by third party manufacturers with Microsoft providing the strict guide lines on how to make it, and there're lots of candidates (AMD, ZTE, Huawei and even Samsung)
- This product will enable even Snapdragon 200 phones an incredible processing edge over flagship competitors
- instead of replicating what's being projected on screen the phone's screen could act as a multi touch trackpad eliminating the need for a mouse !
- instead of creating thick phones with huge batteries and heat problems we can relax and create amazing classy looking phones.
- much like the upcoming Continuum dock you can have lots of ports on the external processing unit.
- I don't know if it's possible but if that unit charged your phone in the process that would make it the best projection accessory ever
- There're many alternative ways to achieve the above idea like plugging your phone into your Xbox one and letting that machine take care of the processing through emulating an ARM processor.
* P.S: If this idea even came close to execution no current hardware will be able to support it, as it'll require tons of work to allow processing operation to be outsourced and switched back on the fly, the fact that it happened in PC doesn't mean it would be easy to do on Mobile, specially since the Alienware idea was a GPU only outsourcing and Microsoft already supported multiple GPUs on Windows, it will also require special connectors (USB C could do it but I doubt it would be efficient on that scale.
So what do you think? Wouldn't that be a better Continuum concept? wouldn't that truly make Windows OS truly Mobile, but also truly PC?
How can you improve on this concept?
Sound off in the comments bellow.
Thanks for reading.