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An environment that converts your smartphone into your personal computer

Image credit: Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 26, 2020
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Everybody owns a smartphone. Most of us work at a computer some part of or almost the entire day. Instead of carrying a laptop to work every day, what if we could have work stations (just like computers) that could be converted into "your" work stations when you connect them to your smartphone?

What does this exactly mean? Imagine the scenario:
  1. You carry everything that is on your laptop on your smartphone. Smartphone storage is increasing by the day and will soon catch up with that of the laptop.
  2. Your office has work stations that simply provide the environment (the apps and programs that you require) for you to work. You cannot perform all your work on your smartphone because, currently, it does not have the working capacity to run complex programs, and due to the small screen.
  3. You attach your smartphone to the work station. The work station then resembles your PC. It has everything - your photos, your passwords, the presentation that you made last night at home. You just bring up the presentation and make the last minute changes. When you disconnect your smartphone, the work station goes back to universal mode. You have a similar station at home.
  4. The work stations are like ATMs. You work on them for a while. After you disconnect, anybody else can use it.

Why do we need such work stations?
  1. Smartphones are lighter and easier to carry than a laptop.
  2. Work stations do not save any data. They help you perform your tasks. All the data are saved in your smartphone, which you carry everywhere.
  3. These work stations act like projectors for smartphones. Your smartphone screen is smaller to work on. Also, it may not contain the environment to open/ modify/ create specific files.
  4. Such work stations can be installed in all public places.
Any critical comments and improvements are welcome.
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Creative contributions

Use of cloud storage and public computers instead of phone storage

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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Aug 27, 2021
A cybercafe's computer can perform the above mentioned functions to a reasonable extent. The accessibility to cloud storage makes it easy for users to access their data on any computer or mobile phone by logging in to their emails.

For this to be feasible, the cost of uploading large files to the internet will have to be much smaller and the download and upload speeds will have to be much faster.

More public computers can be set up in relevant locations where people pay to use them just like payphones. That way everyone has access to computers in most places and at most times. Even for people who do not have phones or personal computers.
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A mobile app turns a mobile phone into a PC extension tool

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola May 05, 2022
I found an app that makes your smartphone an extension that gives you the ability to control the PC applications or games. It could become an add-on screen for an additional view in the flying simulator or an extension of the control pad can also be used to do all kinds of functions, too. It's based on two main components: the PC app and the mobile phone app. These two work together to deliver you thousands of shortcuts or functions that can be found in Gallery.
I am sure this is not the only solution like this, but it got me thinking in the same direction as Samuel Bello.
What if we had online cloud-based Windows, Linux, or Mac accounts and environments that you can log in and use from any PC, laptop, or another machine? You would log in by verifying your identity by smartphone and use your smartphone for further security or important steps, as well as a way to control the machine (mouse, keyboard, additional screen, etc.). Is something like this already available?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni15 days ago
Great find! I checked the video you linked. I think the app converts your phone into a more accessible appendage of your PC. You can use the features of your phone using your laptop. My idea is different in that your phone only saves your work data. Once you connect your phone to a universal system, you can lay out your work on that system on a bigger screen and work there as you would work on your PC/ laptop. After finishing your work, you log out, save the day's work on your phone and leave. You don't need to carry your laptop with you. If you want to continue working at home, you connect your phone to a universal system at home and resume working. The universal system has all the software necessary for you to work, either installed or on the cloud.
To answer your last question, I don't think so. Large companies have systems that any employee of the company can access using a password as you mentioned. But those systems have only a few software installed that the employees use regularly. An outsider may not be allowed or could not use that system as a universal one.
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J. Nikola
J. Nikola13 days ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Yes, yes, I understood that my find is different from your idea. I was hoping it would ignite some useful thoughts on this so that we make the idea viral again.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni11 days ago
J. Nikola Thank you for that! The idea is definitely a step ahead.
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Davi Lima de Mesquita
Davi Lima de Mesquita2 years ago
Hi Shubhankar Kulkarni,

Thanks for sharing and elaborating this ideia. I really appreciate it, and I really imagine this scenario in the future and I think that we already have all the technology we need for these changes.

However, I see things slightly different. In my opinion, cloud computing will be much more present in these setups.

In my conception, the stations must have four features:
- Connected to power grid
- Connected to internet (which can be provided by a simple wi-fi router)
- Large display (like monitor or TV)
- Peripherals: Keyboard, Mouse and maybe a sound device

The smartphone would be responsible for light processing tasks and small files storage. The cloud computing services would be responsible for heavy processing and large files. You mentioned that smartphones "does not have the working capacity to run complex programs", that's true, but they do can connect with virtual machines from cloud platforms (like Azure, AWS etc...)

As you can see, we have everything we need to build a working station, but there are few adaptations we need to do in smartphones (maybe some company or people already did it, so please let me know):

1. Capacity to connect with displays (through HDMI, or another way) and with other peripherals. I know it's possible to do this (I already connected my phone to a bluetooth keybord and to the TV), but this procedure could be simplified and be broader (connect with a greater variety of devices)

2. The smartphones operational systems are bounded to the smartphone devices and the touchscreen feature. We need an amphibian OS: An OS that can work both in a smarthphone context and in desktop context.

3. It's also necessary to adapt smartphone softwares in order to simplify the access to virtual machine and other cloud computing services.

It's very likely that there are already solutions for these adaptations or ongoing projects. I'm looking forward to see if anyone will address these items.

I think this proposed enviroment will be very important in developing countries. I live in Brazil, and here a lot of people has smartphones, but many people don't have access to a laptop or desktop.

Count on me to turn this idea in reality!😉
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Davi Lima de MesquitaAll that is really missing is communal booths. Something with a wifi screen and a durable Bluetooth keyboard/mouse. These could be put up by coffee shops that are trying to attract people or towns that want to help their people out. The android operating system already supports the desktop mode
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Davi Lima de Mesquita
Davi Lima de Mesquita2 years ago
Darko Savic

That's right, Darko. I just have watched the video you shared. I didn't knew this future. It's very good.

Have you already tried to access a virtual machine or a terminal command line using the desktop mode on your phone?
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Davi Lima de Mesquita
Davi Lima de Mesquita2 years ago
Darko Savic, don't you think that a connection through HDMI would be a cheaper, short term alternative?

In the long run, I also think that wifi screen will be the right choice
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
This is already doable with android phones. You can wirelessly connect them to most modern TVs. Add to this a foldable Bluetooth keyboard/mouse and you have yourself a big screen workstation where ever there is a tv. I sometimes read pdf's like that. I scroll on the phone but read on the tv.

Android has a classic looking desktop environment when you connect it to the TV. The mouse cursor is visible as well. Here's a video about it https://youtu.be/uhJNHytk7Bg
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