Gadgets I wish someone would make

by Suw on July 8, 2003

I’m fairly lazy really, it has to be said. I like my comfy chair – we have a deep spiritual connection which I hope will never be broken. I would, therefore, be much happier if I could spend more of my time ensconced in my comfy chair, yet still be able to use my computer. Ok, so my computer is on a desk next to my comfy chair, but you know, it’s not too crash hot to be peering at the screen from so far away and trying to get the keyboard cord to stretch.

So what I’d like some computing company to build is the new and sexy keyboardmousescreen. This would be a nicely sized qwerty keyboard with a smallish (say 10″ or 12″) screen attached to it and a mouse module, maybe a trackball (or anything better than those nasty touch pad things, or the even worse centrally located nipple thingies), which could be snapped on either on the left or the right, depending on the handedness of the user. The whole deal would connect wirelessly to any computer and the screen would display exactly what’s on the monitor. It would also fold away neatly and fit in a groovy little holdall which would come in several funky colour combinations.

With this cunning little keyboardmousescreen, I could wander wherever I so wished and still be able to use my computer, so long as I was in range. I could be downstairs in my bedroom (my house is upside down – weird but true), dropping off to sleep and having a multiplicity of good ideas, but instead of having to turn the light on and fumble for pen and paper, I could just open up my keyboardmousescreen and type my ideas directly onto my PC. Or I could go sit in the garden (once I’d scythed clear a space in the savannah grass, of course) on a nice sunny day yet stil be able to do all my proper work.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ?Suw, for god or the deity of your choice’s sake, get a PDA or a laptop!? And I’m thinking, ?That’s not the point!?

Thing is, with a laptop or a PDA, you forever have that whole syncing issue, which I find really irritating. Yes, I have a laptop (actually, I have my Dad’s), and I do use it so that I can write and watch TV at the same time, but it’s heavy, clumsy and it brings my thighs to boiling point very rapidly. Once I’ve finished, I have to transfer everything onto my PC, which is tedious and annoying and open to that whole ?oops I’ve just overwritten the wrong version? problem. Plus, I have a raft of programmes on the PC, not to mention my broadband connection, none of which I have on the laptop, so its usefulness is somewhat limited at the best of times.

My PDAs are even worse – hardly any functionality and syncing them up is like trying to teach a pig to sing. A slim and sexy keyboardmousescreen, on the other hand, would require no real guts – no memory, disk drive, cd drive, blahdiblah, so it’d require only minimal power, enough ability to power the screen and wifi card, and that’d be it. Hence no thigh frying. You’d never have the syncing or software issue because you’d be using your desktop anyway, and anything you have on that would be available on your keyboardmousescreen so you’d always have 100% functionality. Plus, of course, if one was going to be really swanky one could add a graphic pad element and you could draw directly into your computer using a cute little stylus.

To top it all, because all you’re making is a wee keyboardmousescreen with no real guts, it’d be so much cheaper than a PDA or laptop. And lighter. And it wouldn’t have the same inbuilt obsolescence that laptops and PDAs have.

The more I think about it, the more I want one. Although I think I need to come up with a slightly better name.

A visitor July 8, 2003 at 1:36 pm

I saw almost exactly this at CompUSA last week, an 802.11b-based wireless portable screen with keyboard that allows you to use your computer from anywhere in the house. A look on the Microsoft web site shows it to be called Smart Display. It doesn't appear to use a keyboard, but rather a stylus, on-screen keyboard, and handwriting recognition. For a mouse, substitute touch screen.

I won't be using it any time soon, since I have Macs at home, but you might be interested.


Suw July 8, 2003 at 1:47 pm

Oooh nice… I am drooling so badly that the Rivers Authority have put out a flood warning for the Thames… but at $800 (incl. Amazon's discount) I was way off with the comment 'it'd be so much cheaper'. Still, I could get a wireless keyboard to go with it, and then i'd have my very own keyboardmousescreen. It's a shame it doesn't have a keyboard actually – I'm a bit dyslexic so I would suspect that the whole handwriting recognition system would be really rubbish for me. Not only would I write gobbledegook, I suspect that it would be illegible to the software. And I type so much faster anyway.

Oh well… another item for the wishlist…

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