At the time I should have been more concerned about serving cigs and scratch cards whilst working in a cafe in Paris but for some reason the thought of creating handheld mobile devices that people would have less reason to change so often was being mulled over for reasons of creating less waste through greater longevity. But generally the main fundamental reason people change their devices so often is general boredom. Generally we've reach a point where most touch based pocket sized mobile communications smart devices are very similar in what they can actually do, in the last 7 to 8 years alone all we've had is rehashes of the exact same thing but with different external designs and slights of modification in software features. There might also be improvements in processing power but nothing that would really have been needed to actually make any such devices function for its core purpose.

At this point I think most current touch based pocket sized Apple and Android mobile communications smart devices are more then powerful enough to run everything that most users would like to do in the media centric sense on the hardware front. But we need to narrow this down to a touch device since obviously there are many that would still prefer a physical keyboard over a touch based surface for text input. Now imagine if you had a device with very similar hardware specs to the previously mentioned examples but the main difference being...

The device would have an all over display, yes that includes the back, top, and sides of the device. Meaning the only type of protective after market accessory it would need is some sort of clear casing/skin, since its going to be a touch device most likely a clear skin that can be changed from time to time without having to change the actual fixed shell/housing of the device. The reason for this? Think about it, with an all over display all you need to do to change the whole appearance of the device is change the wallpaper or re-arrange the software based GUI object layout! In essence it could be any colour you want it to be with any external physical design you wanted on it. This has also become a lot more viable then before as a new polymer based plastic has also only just been released into the general consumer domain for use with consumer electronics devices which has "self healing properties", ie. its resistant to scratches. Also keep in mind that Apple in a way have kind of been getting us used to the idea of having an all over glass body despite not having a second display on the back yet. With further improvements in glass toughening which is only set to improve further I don't think it will be too long before we see an all over body display on the iPhone or at least a second screen on the back. But keep in mind the last time Microsoft put a patent and nearly produced a concept for a highly desirable tablet device Apple produced the iPad a year or so later with Microsoft stating that their concept had now been taken apart for use on other projects. 

Why oh why did the Foleo die?

The context? I was heavily pining over the death of the $130 to $150 Palm Foleo with it having gotten so close to production to then be axed at the last minute as I used to use my Palm Treo 750 all the time for taking notes down and writing articles. It was touted as having instant on/off capability with crazy amounts of uptime whilst allowing you to type on something that was much closer to resembling a full sized keyboard. This obviously allowed for faster and more accurate typing with far less typo's.

Not to mention that the 3G internet connection on my Treo would have been much better piped onto the Foleo's much larger screen then through the default 240 x 240 display on my Treo 750 and supplied browser. But then after the Foleo died HP bought Palm out and made a pebble like phone slider. What was that about?!? 

 At the time I used to sync my Treo with my HP TX2000 tablet all the time and live in one note whilst using the tablet to browse the net and clip stuff for ideas. Microsoft's Tablet concept would have merged One note, my Palm Treo, TX2000 tablet and internet access into a single device whilst allowing its users to directly write text via hand writing on a device too. It was apparently going to be less then a quarter of the weight of HP TX2000 tablet. Essentially Microsoft's concept table seemed like a device built around One note but with internet integration, a slicker GUI and a means of using the HID. It would have certainly streamlined the 3 or 4 devices I used to use all the time at the time into a single lightweight device.

Back to concept all over touch/display mobile devices

Also with the appropriate software implementation the device would also allow for interactive touch elements/display objects to be placed anywhere on its surface! However I was more thinking along the lines of using the Linux platform for reason of it being open source, it would basically mean development and modifications of the software interface would be frequent, constantly ongoing and wouldn't necessarily come at a premium or force people to buy a new device just to get software updates and features. It would also mean that coders with enough ambition and ability could rebuild the entire devices OS if they believed they had the expertise to make it run more efficiently with better coding. This would also mean that other general users would also be able to access it and freely put it on their devices if the programmer decided that they wished to make it available for other users to use. The only problem this presents is that there wouldn't be a standard path of software development to ensure that the device remains within an acceptable threshold of operability if it was purely open source. Having said that it might also be worth examining the evolution of the Android platform so far as that is in fact a Linux OS within a commercial semi closed context. Evidently they've followed Apples model by having official approved variants for commercial Android based devices. For all those that weren't aware all Apple devices run something called Unix which is in fact also an open source platform despite the naming conventions Apple place over their OS for their various devices. 

Let's get real (It's time to ditch the Boldberry/Pineapple phone)

Ok granted that many like to keep a separate device for work and their personal life. But then how many people out there have a stack of different sim cards even for their "personal life"?! Sure dual sim card capability is often something that we'd more readily associate with cheap knock off Chinese mobile phones but maybe its time to seriously consider it as a feature for premium devices. It would certainly reduce the ridiculous number of handsets some people feel they need to carry.

The initial reason I was mulling over the idea of such a device?

- No need for the multitude of external cases with different designs (less physical waste)
- Stave of the boredom with ability to modify the GUI and wallpaper in any way over its entire body. (less physical waste)
- Software is updatable. (less physical waste)
- people would have less reason to change their device as frequently or become bored with it. (less physical waste)
- Did I mention Less waste?

However at the time I finished with the thought/conclusion of why they might not make such a device to function flawlessly although they could potentially get very close. Its not profitable in the after sales sense and doesn't allow for enough re-iteration for continuity of sales frequently enough via frequent full hardware re-iterations unless that is they make it a closed platform where they could charge for software updates like an MS OS.

The Reality

Its also the reason why a concept for a touch based OLPC device that could potentially be produced/manufactured for under $150 (in the purest hardware based sense) would never get to market near or at that price. There are already far too many far less advanced patented commercial electronics devices on the market that retail at a far higher RRP.