The Future of Personal Computing

According to various media outlets, the fact that I still use a Windows Mobile device means I’m n the less than 1% of all phone users. I currently use an HP Elite X3 as my daily go-to device.

 

elite x3

I need to post a review of it, but that’s coming.  In a nutshell, the phone is the perfect size at 6″ diagonal. The battery lasts all day, it can take two SIM cards or a SIM an SD card, it has front-facing speakers, a decent (if not great) camera, and both iris scanning as well as a fingerprint reader.

 

The only drawback some would say is that it runs Windows Mobile.

 

In fact, according to a recent article, Windows Phones and Windows Mobile will all but disappear by 2021. 

(Original is here: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US42064316 but can be read here: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/200358/20170306/windows-phones-set-to-vanish-by-2021-forecasts-idc.htm)

 

Now –  why I still use a Windows mobile device.

 

In my corporate environment, I rely heavily on our Microsoft Exchange email. I use my calendar to run my life, and need access to my documents all the time. The cloud (which I wrote about some years earlier) allows me to do this with my phone. I can view my calendar, access my email, access my (mostly Microsoft) documents, and collaborate.

 

In addition, there’s Continuum. While, I don’t believe this is as much a game changers as Microsoft (and HP) hoped, it is still very useful. I have a primary office. At that office, I have two monitors hooked up to a desktop computer. I also roam around and occasionally use a second desk. I can hook into the network at that desk and use my X3 to remotely get work done.

 

 

Some are starting to use the new device in a work environment – https://www.onmsft.com/news/hp-explains-why-the-elite-x3-windows-10-phone-is-perfect-for-first-responders – as an example.

 

Now, here’s what I foresee.

 

I may be incorrect, but I give this a decent shot of happening.

 

Back in December, Microsoft announced somehting called Windows 10 on ARM – this basically is a new feature which will allow for x86 emulation baked into an ARM chipset. This is the type of chip running on many tablets and all cellular devices. 

 

Here’s a video of how the process might work.

 

 

Essentially, a phone would be able to run a full Windows 32 application such as Photoshop, Firefox, Chrome, or one of the millions of in-house developed applications. Of course, no one would seriously want to run Photoshop on a touch-only 6″ device. But using a 6″ device that could then be attached to a 27″ monitor, keyboard, mouse, and possibly digitizer would be an attractive option.

 

Intel was rumored to be creating a chip that could run Win 32 apps as well as be low powered back in 2015. However, earlier in 2016 they announced they were cancelling the production of low-power Atom chips, which would have been able to run full Windows 32 applications in a mobile environment.  It seems that Microsoft is overcoming this with the new Snapdragon 835 processor that can virtualize an x86 environment.

 

The last hurdle would be a scalable user interface. As seen in the Continuum picture above, The phone start menu did not scale well to the 24″ monitor.  Microsoft is apparently working on what they label Composite Shell. Outside of Microsoft, not much is truly known. What we can see is that new shell will allow Windows to be used on everything from a phone to a display board with little change in how we interact.

 

composite shell

 

This new Composite shell has been rumored to show up in a still-unannounced “Surface Phone” or other mobile device.   We will wait and see.

 

In the meantime, I will continue to use my X3 as my daily productivity tool.

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One comment on “The Future of Personal Computing
  1. Tom Woodward says:

    Love you but you’re “thumbing” a dead horse. I started with systems way back when we had to walk through waist deep snow to load a mag tape and set commands to commit in octal on a multi-purpose switch panel. I did TQM, CPM, HPB, DOS 1, Windows 1, OS2 Warp, Linux, etc.

    I’ve abandoned the Windows platform across the board. All my home systems are MacOS, iOS or Chrome now. I eat everything from a cloud interface over 200MB broadband and all it right with the world.

    Oh and I expect my new Kudron Drone to follow be everywhere tethered to my trusty iPhone.

    But I still love ya, you great anachronism you.

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