The state of the art includes WiFi, 3G (or better), 3D graphics, multimedia processing, increasingly capable ARM-based processors and thanks to the attractiveness of their sheer market size, a very rich set of applications.
What smartphones don't have for the moments when you need to get some real work done or enjoy multimedia at a more pleasing size, are bigger screens and keyboards. The Celio Redfly provides just that, in a $200 extremely thin and light "smartphone companion" package. And an added benefit from carrying the extra (yet respectably light) weight, is that the Redfly acts as an external battery, powering your smartphone via a USB port.
If you can connect to the 'net, you can attach to a remote desktop, giving access to all the facilities your remote desktop session offers without needing those resources locally. A remote desktop can be a physical machine or even a virtual machine (VM).
When you're mobile and want to access a remote work or personal desktop, you can use your smartphone with RDP. But a smartphone offers but a small window into the screen of your desktop, so you'll need to pan and/or zoom a lot. That doesn't cut it for getting real work done. That's where the Redfly comes in. Attach it, either through bluetooth or USB, and you're in business. Now RDP isn't something that works well on some 3G networks. But WiFi is quite capable, making it important that all smartphones incorporate WiFi going forward.
The bonus of the Redfly is that it acts only as an external display and keyboard for your smartphone -- you don't sync your smartphone with it. So, if it's lost or stolen, no data is lost with it. And with RDP, files don't have to ever be leaked out of the desktop to your smartphone either. This is obviously valuable to consumers. But to the enterprise, this is critical. Due to an increasing regulatory buzzword soup (SOX, PCI, HIPAA, GLB, ...), this is even mandatory.
The great thing about this combo is it's flexibility. You can take only the smartphone with you, and use it as a smartphone. Or even RDP into a remote desktop and do some lightweight work. Or you can carry both the smartphone and Redfly, and use them together to view videos or to compose longer emails and documents. If you don't bring your Redfly, you can still cope. But to an enterprise, the very limited nature of the Redfly makes it wonderful for regulatory compliance. The RDP piece isn't necessary for some consumers. But it's a real deal sweetener for many power users.
Sweet juicy product idea
How about a larger sized iPhone-like device, but which serves no purpose (and thus can be a lot "dumber" and cheaper to design and build) other than to act as an input/output companion for smartphones? If designed right, nobody will ever know the brains are really in your smartphone stowed away in your bag. Turn it on, it automatically connects via bluetooth. Bonus points if you integrate a web-cam to facilitate video conferencing (at least for an up-sell) or allow it to sit tilt-angle on a table hands-free. Make the smartphone bits easily downloadable through an app store, so others can quickly borrow a consumers's device. It would be nice to have a social ice-breaker to replace smoking. Plus, that makes good viral marketing...
Don't forget to also make a mounting mechanism for the car dashboard. Your smartphone likely already has GPS and the brains to act as a navigation device. Coupled with the sleek form factor companion display and bluetooth wireless connectivity, it'd make a great PND. Garmin et al, you listening?
Disclosure: no positions