Last week while discussing the soon to be released iPhone 3GS, I was reminded of a defunct Microsoft project that I’d forgotten about. It had come up in MS propoganda e-mails in the mid to late nineties, but eventually disappeared. The project was called “Microsoft Personal Server”. I don’t think it ever saw the actual light of day, but from the spam emails, it sounded like a small piece of hardware that you would attach to any windows PC and it would host your personal data and profile information. At the time it was a pretty “out-there” idea, but with the cheapness of flash memory and the modularity of XP profiles with the roaming profile and other options as well as many apps coming in “portable” forms, it shouldn’t be that hard to run such a configuration.
This conversation started me thinking about some kind of symbiotic use of portable computing’s immediate data access with the horsepower, better I/O and mass storage of a desktop machine. Of course laptop computers fill this need, but I don’t know if it’s the most practical in terms of portability and expenditure for all situations. I would really like it if iPhone could connect to a bluetooth keyboard mouse and some kind of monitor. It can handle most of the day-to-day tasks that I require if it just had better I/O. It might even be ok if when docked I could have a pseudo KVM switch to flip back and forth from my PC to the phone. this would be great because Outlook seems to have a lot of overhead which is problematic if I’m gaming or recording something at the same time.
Anyhow, I have pre-ordered the new iPhone 3GS. Skipping the 3G worked out for me, since I was eligible for the upgrade price. Plus, it appears that first gen phones are still in demand for unlocking/jail-breaking uses, so I will likely break even. I think I’m most looking forward to the faster CPU and increased system memory, but the voice control has long been on my wish list, as is MMS.