Shared Workspaces – Co-Browsing and Sharing Between Tablet and Mobile Screens

I’m in yet another coffee shop in the Charlotte area, making myself another office of sorts and expanding on those previous ideas about using several screens and my devices to say mostly productive. I ran into a bit of a stopping point after coming here from a lunch break though, and I think addressing it (if it were possible to do so) would endear me to another kind of experience when using these 3rd spaces for work.

The Scenario

I’d been catching up on Twitter using Different Tack – which has become my preferred means of just keeping my attention on tweets and actually internalizing what I’ve been reading there – and came across a neat link from Bill Buxon that while is nicely viewable on my mobile, would look a lot better if shifted to my iPad. However, only way for me to do this right now – and not so efficiently – is to mark the tweet as a fav, and then bring it up on the iPad (either via the website or Twitter’s app that I use).

The Content Shift Wish

Now, what would have been great here is if in the Bluetooth connectivity that both my N8 and iPad have, that I would be able to simply do some kind of tap of the devices (like the HP Pre 3 and Touch Pad demo) or even have a gesure that would simply shift the current workspace that’s on my iPad to the left – the N8 is on my right – and push the content of that screen into the iPad’s screen with an option of some sort to open, share, or annotate (to Evernote) the link.

Now, this is nearly possible – and even to my (dead platform carrying) Nokia device. Nokia Drop is a service/application that’s available on PC browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox) and is able to do just that. Using Nokia Drop, I could (if on a PC) take a link, picture, or even an app, and just send that to my deivce by opening up the Nokia Drop application and validating myself for Nokia’s service on that PC device.

I’d like to go the other way (obviously) in terms of sending the content to another device (tablet to mobile or mobile to tablet). And yes, this is something that is coming with the NFC protocol – but I think that mobile devices, especially when part of that context of use is (a) personal ownership, (b) physical proximity, and (c) a history of shared applications or services (such as using Twitter on both devices in this case), is already information that exists and there are transfer protocols such as Bluetooth and WiFi which are already here.

And then there’s the context awareness of what I’m shifting that has to be present here. It wouldn’t be just a matter of sending the link to my tablet that makes sense, but the link needs to open ready to go in a viewport and with a UX that respects the larger tablet screen. So, if I send a mobile-formatted website link, that I’m not necessarily getting the mobile site on the tablet but am getting the content.

How Could This Work

I think this could work if there was a service running on both devices that did two things:

  • Authenticated two devices to one another: both are on and every 5-15min they would ping for one another just to ensure that they are still in the same area
  • Ran in the background for both devices, however there was some dashboard which integrated with the native alarm/notification systems for the respective devices: I use two different platforms even though the information that I’d shift would be readable without conversion for both

And then it would simply being a moment of seeing the link, picture, application, etc. on one device and then use a gesure towards the other device to transfer the content.

Some Assumptions

  • I’m making the assumption that an iPad is going to be able to run a background service that will not make it unstable
  • I’m assuming that the devices have an awareness of where the partner devices are (x, y, and z) and be able to adapt if one of the devices are moved since the gesture has to respond to the physical presence in order to be functional
  • I’m making the assumption that any content will be able to be transferred (that won’t fly with some of these <em>ecosystems</em> no matter how generic things are
  • I’m assuming that such a connection will never transfer information to a 3rd party (or be privy to one) sitting in the middle of the devices
  • I’m assuming that it could handle passing a text message from the mobile to a tablet screen even if the tablet isn’t able to facilitate replying to the message (the content is important, not so much the communication)

You end up with these interlocking screens, that don’t necessarily need to come from the same company, but are able to speak to one another while turning your physical spaces into a means to channel some of the interactions that happen between screens.

Crazy I know, but after so many days of passing stuff back and forth in some manner (Twitter, Evernote, etc.), I could go for something that works a lot more connected without being locked to one platform’s content.

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