As if you hadn't noticed, the smartphone is already the center of the universe for nearly everybody in the Millennial Generation forward, and the phenomena is pushing down to snag older and older users—that is, as long as their vision is still good enough to see those tiny screens.
To accelerate the smartphone becoming the center of every user's universe, Analogix Semiconductor Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) has stepped up its SlimPort technology push to interface smartphones and tablets to any nearby display.
"We believe that users will increasingly use their smartphone or tablet as their main computer, but to do so they need the ability to blow-up their display to any size," said Andre Bouwer , Analogix vice president of marketing, at the recent Global Press eSummit 2013 here. "SlimPort solves that problem with full HD resolutions, 3-D compatibility and support for the emerging ultra-high-resolution 4K standard. It even works with multiple screens at the same time."
SlimPort leverages the DisplayPort open-standard, which has been adopted by most computer makers since they do not have pay royalty fees for the high-definition multi-media interface (HDMI) to HDMI Licensing LLC. Yet DispalyPort is easy to interface to HDMI displays with a simple interface cord. SlimPort goes one step further by directly interfacing to the driver chips already designed into smartphones and tablets using DisplayPort, but multiplexing their signals onto the standard micro-USB connector already used for charging Android smartphones and tablets.
SlimPort makes the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) standard available to turn any smartphone into a PC using a Displayport, VGA, DVI or HDMI display.
The usage model of the future, according to Analogix, is for users to plug-in to the micro-USB port on their smartphone upon arriving at the office, or back home, where it both charges the device as well as route its video signals to any connected monitor, HDTV or projector. A simple dongle-cord runs from the micro-USB plug on the smartphone to the native plug for VGA, DVI HDMI or DisplayPort.
SlimPort is compliant with the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) and competes with the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL). The MHL Consortium consisting of Nokia, Samsung, Silicon Image, Sony and Toshiba, already have a claimed installed base of 220 million devices including audio-video receivers (AVRs), Blu-ray Disc players, laptop docks, PC monitors and projectors, but only a handful of smartphones including Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and previous models of LG's Optimus.
Note that even though Apple's laptops, desktops, iPhone, iPod and iPad all use the DisplayPort standard, neither SlimPort nor MHL are compatible with iOS devices since Apple already has its own proprietary connector for wired connections plus uses WiFi to stream video wirelessly to displays connected to its Apple TV set-top box.
It's not clear how this differs from a common micro to fullsize HDMI cable that my phone and, I'm assuming, a lot of other phones can use to connect to an HDMI TV or monitor. I think the only listed compatibility that I can't get with just a cable is the analog VGA, 3D and 4K, none of which are all that relevant to business. Is an HDMI output rare on smart phones?
To really make the "my phone is my PC" setup work, it really needs to be wireless. Instead of needing to cable up, you just walk into your office or home and sit down in front of a wireless keyboard, mouse and monitor setup.
For the smart TV to remain relevant in the growing strength of second screen devices, it must engender an applications development community that will provide as rich a selection of apps as is available on smartphones and tablets.