IT|Redux

Dock Redux

Tuesday, October 9th 2007 | Ismael Ghalimi

Now that we have dramatically simplified our design for the Redux Model 1 tablet, time has come to focus on its accessories. Developing the concept for a magnetic keyboard was fun, but it’s not really practical, and there is no way we could bring that to market by September next year. Beside, we’re not convinced that blending the dock and the keyboard into a single accessory is that good of an idea anyway. Instead, we have decided to take a modular approach, and to develop a standalone dock instead, complemented by off the shelf matching accessories, such as Apple’s iPod Touch, Wireless Keyboard, and Bluetooth Headset.



The Redux Dock would have the same length as Apple’s Wireless Keyboard (11"), would be about 3" wide, and about 3/4" thick. It would be made from a custom anodized aluminum profile that could be sourced from a manufacturer such as item, which I worked with in the past (awesome company). The Apple Wireless Keyboard displayed below is shown to scale in reference to the dock displayed above.



The Redux Dock would allow the side by side docking of the Redux Model 1 and any iPod or iPhone, including the iPod Touch, which we consider as default complementary accessory for our reference setup. It would provide a continuous inclined grove on the front, fitted with two DD1 connectors, one for the Redux Model 1 and the other for the iPod/iPhone. All other connectors would be exposed on the back of the dock:

  • 3.5mm Stereo Headphone Minijack
  • Reversed DD1
  • Mini USB 2.0
  • Regular USB 2.0

The rationale for such connectors is the following: we want users to be able to charge the tablet through the dock with a wide range of cables they already own, including DD1 (iPhone/iPod), Mini USB (BlackBerry and many mobile phones), and regular USB. Also, we are considering the embedding of a power adapter and C7 connector.

Additionally, the Redux Dock should provide a slot for a removable battery. This battery would have the exact same dimensions as the iPhone (4.3" x 2.4" x 0.31"), and would use a standard DD1 connector with an ejection mechanism similar to the one used for Express/34 cards on a MacBook Pro. This would allow an iPhone or iPod Touch (smaller than iPhone in all three dimensions) to be stored into the dock for carrying purposes.

The optional iPod Touch would be used as visual touchpad, remote control for presentations, and handheld dialer for phone calls (alongside a Bluetooth headset), as described in this past article. Technical details of how the iPod Touch would communicate with the tablet for such purposes are still being worked out, but the basic architecture would rely on the use of a lightweight web server running on the tablet and serving AJAX pages displayed by the iPod Touch over 802.11. In order for the iPod Touch to be used as visual touchpad, it should be enclosed into a rubber case, or its back should be covered with a thin rubber film that would prevent it to slip when laid on a flat surface.

That’s all for now. Next: portable letter size display.

Entry filed under: Office 2.0

2 Comments - Add a comment

1. Bill J.  |  October 13th, 2007 at 5:28 am

Ismael:

What do you think about the applicability of the Redux Model 1 as a low-end chart delivery device for occasional pilots? There’s a market that I’m guessing will persist for portable e-chart delivery, and most solutions based on standard hardware are failing the sunlight readable test…

-Bill

2. Ismael Ghalimi  |  October 13th, 2007 at 8:34 am

Bill,

I think it would work, especially if we add an E Ink panel on the back…

-Ismael

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