Thursday, August 19, 2010

Motorola Droid: Desktop Computer System Mod

While I'm not an active cell phone user, the recent introduction of the Motorola Droid phone got my noggin going with the question: Can I use a smartphone as a replacement for a desktop computer? Based on the specifications of the Motorola Droid phone, the theoretical answer to that question is YES!

Bearing in mind that a computer system has only a few key parts, namely:

Central processing unit (CPU)
Arithmetic-logic unit (ALU)

The Motorola Droid is interesting in that it offers the capability for external input and output devices while offering albeit it limited CPU and long-term storage capabilities:

Bluetooth wireless keyboard (input device)

Motorola Droid (CPU, ALU, storage)

HDMI LCD monitor/TV (output device)

While HDMI enabled monitors and televisions are commonly available, the one quirk in building a prototype Droid desktop computer system lies in the Bluetooth keyboard. It seems there are two competing Bluetooth protocols for wireless keyboards and the Droid makes use of the less popular protocol. To build a Droid based desktop computer, one should ensure their Bluetooth keyboard is dual protocol enabled. This would ensure the Bluetooth keyboard is compatible with other or future devices.

For the Droid smart phone product engineers, consider adding at least one USB port so a USB hub could be attached for wired keyboards, external memory expansion, and other to be determined auxiliary devices.

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