Chances are there’s a smartphone in your pocket right now that has a fast processor, at least half a gigabyte of RAM, and it’s connected to your operator’s wireless network. So why isn’t that device your one and only computer? Simple really, the screen is too small and you can’t bang out long emails with just your thumbs. But what if you could connect your smartphone to a large display, wireless keyboard, and a wireless mouse? This isn’t the first time someone has suggested this. Nokia was a pioneer when it comes to this kind of thinking. The N95, which came out months before the first iPhone, had the ability to connect to a television, though the interface you were presented with wasn’t optimized for large screen devices. It didn’t help that the N95 was only capable of putting out 640 x 480 pixels either. Advances in technology have a way of fixing these things however, and now smartphones can send 1080p video to HDTVs via HDMI. Canonical, the guys behind Ubuntu, have decided to take advantage of the power of the devices currently on the market and today they’re showing off Ubuntu for Android.
It’s an easy idea to understand. Use your smartphone like you’ve always been using it, but when you get home you put it in a dock that’s hooked up to a large display, keyboard, mouse, and boom, there’s your computer. Motorola tried to do this with their “Lapdock” concept, but it wasn’t an elegant solution since it only worked on their devices and required dedicated hardware. Ubuntu for Android makes any Android phone into a full blown Linux computer.
Looking at the bigger picture, why wouldn’t Microsoft want to enable Windows Phone 8 owners to bring their smartphone to work, dock it, and then do everything they need to do using the Windows user interface they’re already familiar with? Same story with Apple.
Forget tablets, this right here is the start of something big.