Microsoft has a patent floating around for “a universal smart interface and peripheral management system for portable devices such as mobile phones.” You’d dock your phone into this thing, which would connect to a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and just about anything else that could be plugged into it – even your TV.
So when you see those gray-haired technology experts in the newspaper or on TV saying, “Someday you’ll use your cell phone for everything. You’ll use it while you’re out and about all day and when you get home, you’ll use it as your main computer,” like they’ve been saying for the past 25 years, this device from Microsoft is what they had in mind.
The smart system includes a connector interface that connects peripherals to a phone and/or personal digital assistant (PDA), through the smart system. The smart system includes a cradle for receiving a cell phone and interfacing the phone to external systems such as peripherals, networks and other systems through a USB hub and other suitable connector interfaces. The peripheral devices to which the smart system can interface include, but are not limited to, large displays (e.g., television), external monitors, input devices such as mice and keyboards, external storage devices, and networks (wired and/or wireless). The smart system also facilitates connectivity to large display systems such as TVs, computer displays and monitors.
Another interesting feature is “a processor and memory component for storing and executing an OS and an application in support of communications between the mobile phone, the peripheral devices, and the network.” So it looks like Microsoft would leverage its Windows Embedded platform to help offload a fair amount of the processing tasks from the phone.
This patent was filed in late 2007 so it’ll probably still be a while before we’d see something materialize. Still, it looks like a pretty good idea.