The Portable Entertainment System of 2010

by Mike Shea on 13 March 2003

Seeing the new folding Gameboy Advance SP and playing Everquest Online Adventures got me pontificating about what game systems could, or should, be like seven years from now. There are some core technologies that need significant improvement between now and then but some technologies we have today could still be in place. Display technology needs to improve, specificallly a 1920 by 1080 LCD or equivalant panel that can fit within the lense of a pair of eye glasses ala Eye-Trek. This would give 2x HDTV level resolutions in a portable low power medium. HD-DVD needs to find a place by then, ideally with 14gb to 28gb storage per disc. This is enough for a 4 hour HDTV movie or a solid console game. Wireless technology needs increased coverage, increased stability, and reduced cost. I think we have audio licked for now with systems like the Etymotic ER-6 earbuds for stereo sound. There isn't room for 6 or 8 channel sound in a portable medium. So what would the portable system of 2010 be like? Lets build a feature list.

1920 by 1080 resolution eyeglass display head unit. 5.5" by 5.5" by 2" console size with clamshell HD-DVD drive. USB 2.0 connectivity for accessories including keyboards, controllers, system connectivity, etc. Perhaps a higher speed connection for video and audio output. six to eight hour battery life on a rechargable battery. Wireless high speed internet access built in and ready to use out of the box. $20 a month flat rate access fee. Voice support out of the box for IPv6 based telecom as well as in-game use. High frequency range earbuds for 20hz to 20khz sound in a small package. Applications include internet-based office applications, massive online gaming, telecommunications, personal organization, movies, and music. 1920 by 1080 resolution with 60fps video display of movies and games.

With the right power, there is no reason a home system can't double for a portable system as long as the form factor is small enough. None of the technology mentioned above is something totally unreasonable. Some of it is very difficult, though. Getting that kind of resolution out of a system that small is quite a leap. Getting stable wireless internet access out of the box is another one. Still, with seven years of time to work on these standards, I think it could be done. I bet Sony already has R&D labs working on this.

In the mean time, I will read posts about hooking up a PS2 with EQOA to a head mounted display and dream of where that could take us. I can't imagine what the newborn children of today are going to see 30 years from now. It is going to be a whole different world.