I think that expanding the capabilities of mobile phones until they became handheld computers was a mistake. Instead, I think we should have worked on miniaturizing general purpose PCs until we had handheld computers with touch screens that ran VOIP apps on our choice of operating system (Windows, Linux, BSD, or OSX) and could be plugged into a docking station via USB for desktop work.

There’s no technological reason we can’t. And there’s no shortage of blog posts explaining how to use a smartphone as a desktop computer. However, they all suffer from some crippling limitations:

  • You must use a wireless mouse and keyboard.
  • You’re stuck using Android or iOS, both of which are locked down.
  • Unless you can root/jailbreak your device, you’re limited to software available from your device’s app store.
  • There isn’t a unified standard for connectivity to external devices such as monitors, keyboards, mice/trackballs, and external storage.
  • You cannot access external storage.

The Raspberry Pi solves the problems I listed above, but has its own drawbacks. While touchscreens for the Pi are available, they come in sizes that make the Pi unsuitable for use as a smartphone. Nor does the Pi connect to mobile phone networks by default; its wireless connectivity is based on the 802.11 wifi standards.

(content liberated from Google+)