Acer is at IFA in Berlin showing people a concept device called the “Extend” (video below). Their idea, to turn your phone into your primary computing device by attaching it to a larger screen, a keyboard, and a mouse, isn’t a new one. Back in 2008, an accessory for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices called the “REDFLY” was released that did the exact same thing the Extend concept promises.
Is the Extend/REDFLY idea really the future of computing? I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes. The phones in our pockets today are about as fast as the computers were on our desks five years ago. Later this year that gap will shrink. And in another year, the gap might even be closed. For most people, the kind who do online banking, watch YouTube videos, listen to Spotify, and are addicted to Facebook, the phone has more than enough power to satisfy their needs.
But what has to happen for this concept to reach mass adoption? Wires need to be eliminated. We need to read a point in the future where you come home, plop your phone on a table, and then all of a sudden it starts charging and connects to a wireless display, wireless keyboard, and wireless mouse (or touchscreen display).
Who will be the first to successfully sell this concept to consumers? You’re going to think I’m crazy for saying this, but I think it’ll be Microsoft. They have all the ingredients in place, and they have the least to lose since they’re (oddly enough) an incredibly small player in the mobile industry.
Google doesn’t care enough about Android to push this concept, but Chrome OS might be a little bit different. And Apple would rather you buy a $500 tablet, $700 phone, and $1,500 computer than a $700 phone and then a bunch of generic accessories that can turn it into a desktop computer.
Am I crazy?