Smartphones are getting more and more powerful these days. The hardware inside today’s high-end handsets is almost up to par with laptops of just a handful of years ago. So, why not use your mobile phone as a mobile computer? Palm failed to bring their smartphone companion, the Palm Foleo, to market as a thin-client computer. Celio has been forging ahead with their REDFLY Windows Mobile companion. Now, it seems Microsoft may be considering a similar device.
A new Microsoft patent application reveals a smartphone cradle/dock that would essentially allow you to use your mobile phone (presumably a Windows Mobile handset) as a portable computer of sorts. The Microsoft “Smart Interface System for Mobile Communication Devices” is envisioned as a dock/cradle packed with all the ports you’d need to connect monitors, keyboards, printers, TVs, etc. Once placed inside the cradle, the smartphone would serve as the processing-brains for a low-power computer.
Rather than firing up your laptop or desktop to show your friends pictures from your most recent vacation, Microsoft would have you plugging in your smartphone into the “Smart Interface System for Mobile Communication Devices” and streaming the pictures directly to your TV or computer monitor. And with its own processor and memory, the Microsoft smartphone dock can execute its own OS and help the smartphone communicate with peripherals.
Will Microsoft ever bring this device to life? Or will it just sit in the company’s patent portfolio as potential ammunition against future innovations? Time will tell…