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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We have arrived at the future where our phones can now be our computers, though judging from the size of that “phone” its somewhat too large and ugly

There’s more than enough glitz and smartphone glamour at Mobile World Congress to keep me writing previews well into next week, but when I dropped in at the ARM stand, it was something a little unusual that drew my attention.

On the edge of a narrow bench sat a rattly-looking development unit – the kind of device phone and chip makers use to test hardware before squeezing it into the shiny, sleek chassis I’ve seen so many times over the past three days. But that’s not the interesting part: ARM was using it to demonstrate the benefits of multicore mobile processors, the sort so many of the new devices this year are set to employ.

The Texas Intruments OMAP 4 chip inside it is based on ARM’s Cortex-A9 architecture and in the video below it’s shown running Android 2.3 and Ubunutu 10.04 simultaneously.

That’s interesting from a technical point of view, you might think, but a little gimmicky right? Well, it’s closer to reality than you might think. The Motorola Atrix smartphone, launched to great fanfare at CES in January, boasts a very similar feature. Drop this in the rear of its ‘laptop’ dock and control switches to the larger screen displaying a desktop environment, allowing you to use the power of the phone just like a notebook. Motorola also has a desktop dock for the Atrix which allows you to connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.


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