Laptops or Netbooks with built-in Projectors… Coming soon.

TI’s first generation DLP-based pico projectors have already been designed into SmartPhones in early 2009. Now they have announced 2nd generation DLP projector chips that will show up in 2010 devices. There are many other companies like Microvision that also are innovating on pico projector technology for various uses.

One place where these small projectors will be highly useful is Laptops or Netbooks. One major problem in confererence rooms around the world is a scramble to get projectors working with laptops. This invariably happens at the beginning of every meeting in the corporate world. And during the meeting, there is more time wasted in exchanging projector cables if someone else needs to present. Even though we have Webex, etc a need for a projector has not diminished.

A Laptop with a built-in projector would greatly simplify this problem savings countless minutes/hours in important meetings. With just a click (may be a combination Function-F8 click), you can start sharing your screen to meeting attendees. In addition in the case of smaller Netbooks, it might be a good way to make use of a larger screen to watch movies, etc while still having the netbook advantage of low-cost, small size & long battery life.

Starting 2009/2010, we should see many business laptops including a built-in projector. Netbooks might take longer to incorporate when price & size goes down.

Thoughts on “Desktop” UI Paradigm for PCs

Personal Computers have obviously evolved quite a bit. As of 2009, laptop or mobile PCs have largely surpassed the traditional immobile desktop PC.

Laptop PCs by their very nature are used quite differently from the Desktop PCs that sit on the office desk. Have you lately seen what people are doing with laptop PCs in a coffee shop or train or airplane ? Some watching movies, some reading news online, some playing games, some emailing, etc.

But the “Desktop” UI paradigm in PCs has not changed a bit in 25 years. The key aspects of the “Desktop” paradigm are:
     – An office Desktop represented by a background image
     – Tools on the desktop represented by a bunch of icons on top of the image
     – Common tools are docked on a dock or a taskbar

The desktop with its icons is fixed – just like the immobile desktop in the office.

But since the laptops are used in widely varying scenarios, why doesnt the UI change to adapt to the task being performed by its user.

For example, the UI can morph from 1) the traditional desktop mode when the user is using PowerPoint or Excel, but switch to a 2) TV-style interface while watching youtube and switch to a 3) textbook-style UI when reading news online and switch to a 4) game console-style UI when playing games… Like a personal device – “computer” is misnomer when PCs are rarely used to “compute” anything.