Microsoft demos phone-PC


Microsoft showed a prototype of the FonePlus yesterday, a concept phone that doubles as a full PC when connected to a display and keyboard. This device ran Windows CE, not a full-blown desktop OS, but don’t underestimate the potential power of CE here. Additionally, if you’ve been following the mobile chip market recently, you might have heard the recurring theme of "Texas Instruments". What…not Intel, er, Marvell?

Although I have zero info on the concept device, the new TI OMAP 3 mobile handset chips could really fit the need here, or at least show us the path as they tout features you’d never expect…

  • New OMAP™ 3 architecture combines mobile entertainment with high performance productivity applications
  • Industry’s first processor with advanced Superscalar ARM® Cortex™-A8 RISC core enabling 3x gain in performance
  • Industry’s first processor designed in 65-nm CMOS process technology adds processing performance
  • IVA™ 2+ (Image Video Audio) accelerator enables multi-standard (MPEG4, WMV9, RealVideo, H263, H264) encode/decode at D1 (720×480 pixels) 30 fps
  • Integrated image signal processor (ISP) for faster, higher-quality image capture and lower system cost
  • Flexible system support
    • Composite and S-video TV output
    • XGA (1024×768 pixels), 16M-color (24-bit definition) display support
    • Flatlink™ 3G-compliant serial display and parallel display support
    • High Speed USB2.0 On-The-Go support
  • Seamless connectivity to Hard Disk Drive (HDD) devices for mass storage
  • Leverages SmartReflex™ technologies for advanced power reduction
  • M-shield™ mobile security enhanced with ARM TrustZone™ support
  • Software-compatible with OMAP™ 2 processors
  • HLOS support for customizable interface
  • All of this in a mobile processor could be just the start needed to realize a truly small computer in your pocket. I say: watch and see what TI does in the mobile computing market; I think they will surpise you in this area.

    Granted, with today’s interface requirements, there has to be some size and bulk to a true computer that you can carry. USB ports are all the same standard size, as are each type of storage card and hey…a 1.8-inch hard drive is going to take up at least 1.8 inches of space in a given direction. Still, I’m personally excited to hear about the concept of the FonePlus; now let’s put some engineering muscle behind it and make it happen!


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