(re)charging control and platform hardware musings

michael at michaelshiloh.com michael at michaelshiloh.com
Mon Nov 27 19:33:58 CET 2006

On Mon, 27 Nov 2006, Marcin Juszkiewicz wrote:

> One thing which annoyed me in all cellphones is charging control. How many
> times you discovered that phone need charging but you have to go to work?
> Or even worse you discovered it when you got important call to do and no
> way to charge phone?
> I'm thinking about adding posibility to warn user when:
> 1. user is at home (where is charger)
> 2. battery is <'in 10-14h will be empty'
> so user is able to connect phone for charging and will get full battery for
> next day.
> What do you think?

Good idea. I have two suggestions:

1. Silly suggestion: GPS in charger, so you know how far it is. Then your
warning can say things like "If you keep driving at this speed, you will not
be able to get back to your charger before your battery is empty".

2. Smart(er) suggestion: Charge via USB port. That way you are rarely far from
a charger. (How many of us have a home or office that has no computer with a
USB port?) (How long before cars have a dashboard USB socket for charging,
like your cigarette lighter?)

Interestingly, your email, and my response, make a point I've been meaning to
make on this list. There are two broad categories of ideas on this list:
Hardware and Software. The hardware ideas require that the phone include and
support that hardware, e.g. the ability to charge via USB port. The software
ideas can all be implemented regardless of hardware (assuming any necessary
hardware support exists; if not, I would classify this as a hardware idea).

The hardware ideas involve time to design and implement, and require
justification in terms of added cost, reduced space, increased power
consumption etc. and of course involves a long lead time.

The software ideas help us see what hardware is required, and justify cool
hardware. If one software idea requires specialized hardware, then other
software ideas that use this same hardware can help justify the addition of
this specialized hardware.

It is interesting, as I read this list, to see what hardware falls into
different categories: "must have", "would be nice", "would only be of interest
to a small user base", etc. I'm sure Sean and others at FIC are making the
same observations.

As I mentioned in a previous email, the host support on the USB port
essentially gives us an expandable hardware platform for prototyping new
hardware, experimentation, and application development. If I want to develop
an application that requires some specialized hardware that is not built-in, I
can add that hardware externally via USB, develop my application, discuss it
here, and then FIC can determine whether to add this hardware in a future
version. To me, this is a terribly exciting path that, combined with the open
platform, will encourage the development of applications that we can't even
imagine now. I wish I could peer into the future and see what's running on
this phone in 1 year, 2 years, or 5 years..


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