IBM shows glimpses of Bluetooth future

"We can count on a large number of devices showing up on the market in the next few years," said John Karidis, distinguished engineer in the Personal Systems Group at IBM. Not all of these devices will succeed, but developers should "experiment with as many ideas as you have time for," Karidis said.

IBM is working on a range of innovations including the WatchPad, a wristwatch with a high-resolution touchscreen, and CyberPhone-2, a lightweight cell phone that can project data on to a small mirror the user can look at while talking. Karidis showed prototypes of the devices during a keynote address at the conference.

The prototype wristwatch, thinner than most current calculator watches, features a 720 dpi (dot-per-inch) VGA display that makes 6-point type (about half the size of typical newspaper type) legible to the user. This allows the screen to show about as much type as the larger screen of a Palm handheld. Because of the high resolution of the display, the text can be read easily by the wearer, Karidis said. The device would offer organiser and messaging functions and could be navigated by touch, with just four or five touch areas.

"Your watch knows what time it is. It certainly should be able to tell you where your next appointment is," Karidis said.

Using Bluetooth, the WatchPad can communicate with a PC. As a demonstration, Karidis used the touch-screen controls to move through his presentation, which ran on an IBM ThinkPad notebook computer.

Researchers at IBM Japan have developed a prototype motherboard for the watch, about 1.25 inches across, with 8MB of DRAM. It runs a version of embedded Linux. The device could be commercialised within two years, Karidis said in an interview Wednesday.

The CyberPhone-2 concept uses the same motherboard, and offers a small display similar to those on typical cell phones. A larger display also can be used by projecting what is on the smaller display on to a mirror that flips out of the bottom on the phone allowing full Web pages to appear legible to the user. A trackpad on the back of the phone, near the user's index finger, controls the device.

CyberPhone-2 could be marketed as a companion to the ThinkPad, as an interface to a Bluetooth-enabled phone carried elsewhere on the body, or as a phone co-branded with a mobile phone maker, Karidis said.

Karidis also described in his keynote devices more similar to current products. He showed the Chameleon, a combination notebook PC and Web kiosk for home use, as well as a "wearable drive" concept in which a Bluetooth-enabled IBM MicroDrive would serve as network-attached storage for a number of personal-area-network devices, and Mica, a notebook PC in a portfolio with a companion pen that lets users automatically input to the PC what they write on a pad of paper.

For frequent flyers, Karidis suggested a couple of odd solutions to the problem of fully-reclined seatbacks -- the "Monarch butterfly," a notebook with a keyboard that can be reconfigured to be wider but more shallow, and the AirWarrior, with a display that can be raised up to eye level. Although the AirWarrior would allow the user to see the display, the drawback is that everyone for several rows back could also see it, Karidis acknowledged.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?