It used to be that the bigger the computer, the more powerful it was. That isn’t really as true today. A state of the art smart phone has a more powerful processor than a PC from just a few years ago. Indeed, several phones in development will have as many as 8 cores of processing on board. That’s pretty amazing considering they are battery powered.
As a result of this continued miniaturization, we now have an interesting situation where the size and shape of mobile devices is driven more by the dieplay than the computer inside. If you open up an iPad for example, you will see it’s almost all battery, and only a small part is the computer (labeled Main Logic Board below; the big black thing is the battery).
So my thinking on this is it would be a good idea to split the display and the computer itself. Maybe your computer is just a small box in your pocket that wirelessly connects to a nearby touchscreen display? Because of this theory, I have been keeping track of wireless video technologies. Today I read about a new chip which does it all in a single package and apparently draws very low power so it would be suitable for phones and tablets. Since it’s a single chip now, I would expect to start seeing this in phones and tablets within the next year. Oh gee did I just make a prediction for 2013? Yep, I guess so!
The implications for the classroom are moderate in impact. It means rather than provide a full computer to a student, classrooms could be setup to provide a variety of input and output devices. The student could move to a big screen for visualization, then move to a smaller touch screen for interactions. All of this would be driven by a smartphone in their pocket.