Skip to main content

Phone n’ Computer: teaming up an information appliance with a PC

Abstract

Facing the ever growing complexity and usability problems of the PC, some propose specialized computers as a solution, while others argue that such “information appliances” are unnecessary. Rather than pitting information appliances and PCs against each other, we argue instead for exploring the design space in using them together. We experimented with a device teaming approach that takes advantage of both types of devices: the familiar and high bandwidth user interface of the PC, and the task specific form factors of an information appliance. In our experimentation, we designed and developed a phone n’ computer (PnC) by teaming up an IP phone with a general-purpose PC. We outline the design space for such a combination and describe several point designs we created that distribute functions between the two devices according to their characteristics. In comparison to separately using phones and computers, our designs provide new and richer user experiences including Drop-to-Call, sharing visual information, and caller information display.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

References

  1. Barton JJ, Nylander S, Folowosele F, Harrison B (2006) Dialing for displays: session initiation protocol for opportunistic augmentation. In: Proceedings fourth IEEE intl conf pervasive comp and comm, pp 60–65

  2. Buxton W (2001) Less is more (more or less). In: Denning P (ed) The invisible future: the seamless integration of technology in everyday life. McGraw Hill, New York, pp 145–179

    Google Scholar 

  3. Dearman D, Pierce J (2008) It’s on my other computer!: Computing with multiple devices. In: Proceedings of CHI 2008: ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Sytesm, pp 767–776

  4. Fox A, Johanson B, Hanrahan P, Winograd T (2000) Integrating information appliances into an interactive space. IEEE Comp Graphics Appl, 20(3):54–65

    Google Scholar 

  5. Hutchings H, Pierce J (2006) Understanding the whethers, hows, and whys of divisible interfaces. In: Proceedings of AVI 2006, pp 274–277

  6. Johanson B, Pennekanti S, Sengupta C, Fox A (2001) Multibrowsing: moving Web content across multiple displays. In: Proceedings of Ubicomp 2001, pp 346–353

  7. Newman M, Izadi S, Edwards WK, Sedivy J, Smith T (2002) User interfaces when and where they are needed: an infrastructure for recombinant computing. In: Proceedings of UIST 2002: ACM symposium on user interface software and technology, pp 171–180

  8. Norman DA (1998) The invisible computer: why good products can fail, the personal computer is so complex, and information appliances are the solution. MIT Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  9. Odlyzko AM (1999) The visible problems of the invisible computer: a skeptical look at information appliances first monday

  10. Pierce JS, Mahaney HE (2004) Opportunistic annexing for handheld devices: opportunities and challenges. In: Proceedings human–computer interaction consortium (HCIC)

  11. Pierce J, Nichols J (2008) An infrastructure for extending applications’ user experiences across multiple personal devices. In: Proceedings of UIST 2008: ACM symposium on user interface software and technology, pp 101–110

  12. Roman M, Hess C, Cerquiera R, Ranganathan A, Campbell R, Nahrstedt K (2002) A middleware infrastructure for active spaces. IEEE Pervas Comput 1:74–83

    Google Scholar 

  13. Schilit BN, Sengupta U (2004) Device ensembles. IEEE Comp 37(12):56–64

    Google Scholar 

  14. Tang JC, Lin J, Pierce JS, Whittaker S, Drews C (2007) Recent shortcuts: using recent interactions to support shared activities. In: Proceedings of CHI 2007: ACM conference on human factors in computing systems, pp 1263–1272

  15. Yin M, Zhai S (2005) Dial and see: tackling the voice menu navigation problem with cross-device user experience integration. In: Proceedings UIST 2005—18th ACM symposium on user interface software and technology, 2005, ACM, pp 187–190

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank our colleagues Jon Graham, John Tang, John Barton, Steve Ferrell, Tom Moran, Steve Cousins and Barton Smith. The work was performed when Min Yin worked at IBM Research—Almaden.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shumin Zhai.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yin, M., Pierce, J. & Zhai, S. Phone n’ Computer: teaming up an information appliance with a PC. Pers Ubiquit Comput 14, 601–607 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-009-0251-6

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00779-009-0251-6

Keywords

  • Phone
  • Information appliance
  • Device integration