Auxiliary Displays - It's Already Been Broughten

Back in March, I blogged about wanting auxiliary displays [Bring On the Auxiliary Displays]. Just today, I came across a fantastic Channel 9 video post from the Windows Sideshow team showing off their auxiliary display tech. People like to talk about how video blogs suck, but Microsoft is doing great stuff with Channel 9. Unrestrained tech content from the very guys making the tech, yes please! Take 17 minutes out of your day and go watch the video.

I'm not sure how I missed it, but Engadet covered Microsoft's aux display tech in April. I had no idea Microsoft was this far along when I wrote my original post. Go Microsoft. Make it happen.

After watching the video, I realize that Microsoft is going a slightly different direction. Their first targets are add-ons to notebook computers and keyboards. Logitech is already doing cool stuff with aux displays on their keyboards. Between them, Microsoft, and Asus, maybe this will gather momentum.

I think notebook computers have stagnated recently. For awhile, size and computing power were market drivers, but now you can choose from dozens of ho-hum notebooks that will get the job done. Integrating aux displays is a tremendous opportunity for a notebook manufacturer to make their device stand out and command an upgrade. As Microsoft shows, in many ways, these +1 displays on notebooks will provide PDA-like functionality which could allow a user to leave one more device and charger at home.

Microsoft says they are using some of the SPOT technology. How about using their Smartphone and Windows Mobile tech too? They say themselves that they want to use typical cell phone displays. Those would be the same displays that their mobile developers have already designed for when writing Smartphone apps. Wouldn't it be cool if you could run that code unchanged in the aux display? Emulators run on the desktop, why not on the aux display coprocessor or the main processor itself in a different power mode?

Finally, you knew I'd drag Apple in to this :) Apple could build in an aux display and allow Dashboard widgets to run in it. Run the weather widget when you are travelling. Run the iPhoto viewer widget when you want to show off. Run the iCal widget when you are on the run. That's juicy.

So, to go along with my previous mockup of an aux display tablet, I thought I'd see what a Powerbook would look like with iPod like controls integrated in to the lid.

This gives you the iPod experience with your music when you don't have your iPod with you. The clickwheel could also be the interface to the rest of the widgets that run in the aux display.

I'm liking the idea even if I'm luke warm on how it looks in the lid.


Jason said...

I like the idea of auxillary displays, but I'm not sure how closely integrated I really need them in other devices. Sitting nearby via Bluetooth would probably solve most of my needs.

The keyboard idea by Logitech is very cool, although I think the keyboard is the wrong place. My eyes are never on my keyboard. I would rather see a slim display underneath my LCD monitor.

Good stuff though.

---ryan said...

I agree, under the monitor would be better than the keyboard. Logitech doesn't make monitors though, so you can see where they are coming from :)

This is where Apple could excel as they build all sorts of hardware that can tie in well with their OS offering.

I would still prefer external aux displays. I was just sparked by what I saw on Channel 9.

crturboguy said...

I'm not really digging the outside 'iPod' interface. If anything, I'd maybe like to see it centered, or layed out a little better.