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An environment that converts your smartphone into your personal computer

Image credit: Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

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.
Creative contributions

Use of cloud storage and public computers instead of phone storage

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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General comments

Davi Lima de Mesquita
Davi Lima de Mesquitaa year 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!๐Ÿ˜‰
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica year 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 Mesquitaa year 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 Mesquitaa year 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 Savica year 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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