Tag Archives: WiDi

Ditch the Desktop and Go Mobile!

My mobile productivity dream is nearing a reality. I don’t want to have a desktop at the office, a laptop for client presentations, and a mobile device for when I am out and about. I want a single mobile device that I take everywhere and sync with productivity peripherals (read monitors, keyboard, and mouse) when required. As well, there is more than enough processing power in our smartphones for everyday tasks such as email, web browsing, and document creation. My desire is to be able to do all of this wirelessly. That isn’t quite ready today – but MHL is.  To pull this off using MHL there is one cable involved – but there is actual a silver lining in there. But before we get into that what in the world is MHL?

MHL – A SILENT GAME CHANGER

Most people have never heard of it but will be really excited when they do. MHL has support from a consortium of industry leaders such as Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image; Sony, and Toshiba. Not only does MHL enjoy concerted support from manufactures but it also leverages existing hardware, namely micro USB and HDMI. This equates into a low cost solution that is ready to rock with no hardware disruption. MHL gives you full HD video and digital audio, with up to 1080p/60 picture quality, and digital audio up to 192 kHz and is capable of delivering 7.1 channel surround sound. Couple this with a Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse and you’re able to be as productive as any laptop or desktop. Watch movies, play games, use front facing cameras for video conferencing, client presentations, write emails, etc!

ONE CABLE TO GO

Alas, there is a cable – albeit small – that you plug into your phone’s micro-USB port and the HDMI port of your tv/monitor. But, I did promise you a silver lining. Since the cable is leveraging the USB port on your phone it not only transmits the audio and video signal, but also charges your phone while doing so. This provides the ability to be connected for hours and not totally drain your phone’s battery. Even better, you phone will be totally charged when you are done! One last note on cables, if your HDMI capable TV doesn’t have native support for MHL – no problem – you can purchase a dongle for $29

MOBILE SUPPORT

Is your mobile screen too small? Would your 55” TV be enough for you? Want to try it out? Here are the current mobile devices that support MHL:

  • Galaxy Nexus phone
  • HTC Amaze 4G phone
  • HTC Evo 3D phone
  • HTC Flyer tablet
  • HTC Rezound phone
  • HTC Sensation phone
  • HTC Sensation XE phone
  • HTC Vivid phone
  • LG Nitro HD mobile phone
  • LG Optimus LTE mobile phone
  • Meizu MX mobile phone
  • Samsung Galaxy Note phone/tablet
  • Samsung Galaxy S II phone
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet
  • Samsung Infuse 4G phone (bundled with an MHL to HDMI adapter)
  • Samsung TXT phone

While I wait for smartphones to include WiDi and give me the productivity bump I am looking for, MHL will give me an almost there kind of experience; a dry run for a mobile-only lifestyle.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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Filed under Mobile, Productivity

Mobile Productivity – Size Matters

Mobile devices today are, by and large, content consumption devices. They are great for reading the New York Times, watching a YouTube  clip, or playing a mind distracting game. But trying to do anything that requires more typing than Twitter’s  140 character limit on a mobile device is not time well spent. Ever tried to type a thoughtful email on your phone?

When it comes to mobile productivity size matters. Our fingers, hands, and eyes just need larger.  Between fat-fingering the on-screen keyboard and all the pinching, squeezing, and flicking to get to the right place on the screen negates any gain in being able to work remotely on the phone. It isn’t impossible to work this way but it is a severely limiting experience. Data intensive interactions just require a larger form factor.

Yet just because the current state of mobile productivity has limits doesn’t mean we can’t look to the next step. Here’s what I want. I want the portability of my phone but I want my keyboard, mouse, and monitor too. If you could throw in the ability to access what I am currently working on you’d have a new working paradigm. Make that a reality and we’re all walking around with pocket productivity.

So what will that take? Do I have to wait for a distant time in the future when our devices can project a holographic display with corresponding virtual keyboard and Kinect type gestures for the mouse? No, we shouldn’t have to wait at all. This is well within grasp of current technology. We just need the following pieces combined into a unified experience and brought to market:

  1. Wireless Displays
  2. Bluetooth keyboard
  3. Bluetooth mouse
  4. Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing

Wireless display technology exists today. Intel’s WiDi and WISAIR  have limited offerings but it is available. As well, most anyone in the realm of IT is familiar with the host of available products for Bluetooth Keyboards and Mice. The last piece that is needed to bring it all together is Near Field Communication. NFC is the technology that is making such applications like PayPal and Google Wallet  work.

Smartphones that are NFC enabled have the ability to leverage the NFC technology to pair with other Bluetooth devices, which in our scenario could be the keyboard, mouse, and monitor.  You could just bump your phone to the devices that you want to pair with the way Bump Technologies works to share contacts and you could be off and working – really working.  Your phone’s usefulness as a productivity tool just bounded over a tall building.

Let’s call this of on-the-fly  assembling  of peripherals a ‘Touchdown’ – not only because you can walk up to any ‘Touchdown’ and, boom, you are ready to get to work, but also because it will be a real score for mobile productivity. Now add in device’s connectivity to the cloud and you have the ability to access your documents, collaboration workspaces, presentations, etc.

There are many use-cases in which a ‘Touchdown’ would be a viable scenario; conference rooms, open concept offices, presentations, team collaboration, visiting a client site, contractors, even airplanes with in-seat monitors. There is a plethora of possibilities. Gone would be the notion of a primary desktop.  Your office/desk would consist of a ‘Touchdown’ and your phone.

An added bonus for businesses is the exponentially expanding trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) whereby companies with effective MDM(Mobile Device Management) enforcement  won’t even need to purchase workstations for their employees. Employees would show up for work with whatever flavor of device they have, get the requisite apps downloaded to the corporate partition of their device, bump and sync with the nearest  ‘Touchdown’ and they’d be off and running to connect, and more importantly work, with the corporate cloud.

Far off? Doesn’t have to be.  Where do you see this kind of setup being most effective? How would you improve upon it?

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Filed under Mobile, Productivity