At this years Consumer Electronics show, the most interesting product I saw wasn’t a Windows 7 or an Android pad. Yawn. Perfectly fine products for sure, but not really new. Rather, simply a turn of the crank and put in an iPad like form factor.
What I did see that was both new and exciting was the Atrix 4G by Motorola. For anyone who has followed Sanjay Jha’s career, you can see his fingerprints all over this product – much like Steve Job’s are all over the iPhone and the iPad. In particular, while at Qualcomm, when asked about why Qualcomm was investing in the Snapdragon processor, Sanjay opined that Smartphones will continue to grow in market share and capability and secondly, that he foresaw the day when an Ultra-Smartphone could drive your desktop. The Atrix is the first incarnation of Sanjay’s vision. (For those who aren’t familiar with the ATRIX see the following link http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Mobile-Phones/Motorola-ATRIX-US-EN).
Some years ago, in my blog titled “Smartphones to Replace the TV ”, I wrote that one day you would be able to sit in front of a smart desktop monitor, and a UWB wireless link would connect your Snapdragon based Ultra-Smartphone from your belt to your monitor. The Atrix is the first step in my vision. Moreover, the other portion of my vision of a smart desktop monitor being the hub of the human interface wireless connected to an Ultra-Smartphone was also at this years CES. This is the Samsung Central Station. It is a stunningly gorgeous 23” and 27” model wireless monitor with an integrated dock built into the base – what I call a Moni-Dock. The Central Station connects to ethernet, multiple USB ports for your printer or external HDD as well as audio out for speakers, and of course connecting to your keyboard and mouse. It connects to a PC laptop using a Samsung specific UWB wireless connection to a tiny knub like dongle that the user leaves in their laptop. Come into range of the Central Station and . . . . viola – the laptop connects and the monitor and peripherals come to life. No more plugging in 5 different devices into your laptop every day. No more dock and undock hassles either.
So now imagine the marriage of the Atrix product and Central Station along with wireless. You sit down at your desk, your Atrix-esque Ultra-Smarthone connects to your integrated LED Monitor w/Docking. Your keyboard and mouse come alive. You can do multi-touch control on the touch pad of your keyboard. You can get on the corporate network using the Citrix client like the ATRIX does. You can use the apps on your Android Smartphone. Do your mail, do it all, and no laptop required. Want to charge your phone – simply take it out of your holster and plug it into the base of the Smart Moni-Dock. Talk about convenience. Moreover, if you have a laptop, no problem, it connects to the Moni-Dock, just like the Samsung Central Station. Have a pad product instead – same thing.
In conclusion, coming out of CES 2011, with the Samsung Central Station, and Sanjay’s ATRIX, we are just one more turn of the product development crank away from Life without Wires. Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later.