Tech Prediction Of The Day

As ultraportables, UMPCs, MIDs and futurephones get more prevalent, we’re soon going to see companies selling portable LCD monitors — basically, laptop monitors without the laptops, probably stored in tasteful leather / vinyl cases with a little padding to protect them that flip open to serve as a stand to prop the monitor up. Maybe they’ll even be touch / multitouch, with dual USB / VGA or DVI cables.

So if you’ve got a EEE or similar device and you need some more screen real estate than the small built-in LCD provided, for Photoshop or movie-watching or what have you, you’ll simply pull your external portable monitor out of your bag and plug it in.

Why nobody does this already, I don’t know. Maybe they do. But I haven’t seen one. (The thing in the picture — which I found here and can’t seem to identify — is some sort of industrial LCD, and not really what I have in mind.) And it’s simple tech. And obviously it’s doable from an industrial design perspective.

So let’s have it.

[Edit: of course, I forgot about Wacom’s Cintiq, which is one of the pieces of hardware I’d most like to own, but that’s pretty high end. I was thinking of something much more aimed at a general market — just a basic screen.]

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  1. Well, the monitor is basically the main power draw for a portable computer, so stripping out everything but the monitor leaves you with batteries that are nearly as big (at most you’ll get a 40% reduction in battery weight, for the same operating life), and you’ve still got all this extra crap like an external power cord and brick.

    So, essentially you’ve gained some additional flexibility for more-or-less the same additional bulk (and most of the weight) as a laptop.

    Plus, you’re assuming that the portable device actually can output a higher resolution signal to an external display device. Most of those I’ve seen cannot, they seem to assume that the external display is a similarly low-resolution projector.

    We probably will get there eventually, but first we’ll see a market develop for desktop ‘docks’ to a: LAN, 20+ inch monitor, keyboard, backup HDD, and removable media drive (not to mention power for recharging).

    Kind of like how home stereo system docks for iPods eventually created a market for boom-boxes with iPod docks.

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