The ultimate portable device

I’m thinking about my next gadget purchase, and outlining the things I’d like to be able to do:

  • I would like a new portable music player.  Right now my 60GB Nomad Zen doesn’t have enough room for everything I own at 160Kbps MP3 which is about as low bitrate as I want to go. So something with at least a 100GB drive or more is necessary.  Also note that you can’t really buy just a music player anymore, it has to be a “media player”
  • I’d like to have a handheld device I can reliably use as a SlimServer remote.  Any PDA would probably do but the device of choice seems to be a Nokia 770.  The 770 can also be used as a Wi-Fi streaming player which would be cool for interfacing with SlimServer as well.  What’d be even better would be a dual Wi-Fi/EVDO or HSDPA device with an unlimited data plan so I could stream from nearly anywhere.
  • A universal remote.  Something like the Harmony 1000, perhaps.  The Harmony also does IR and RF (z-wire it’s called) so I could use it anywhere in the house with an IR repeater to the stereo systems.

I’m intrigued by the PepperPad, which seems to do the IR remote and WiFi okay, but it’s got a tiny 30GB hard drive and is actually a bit big.  An OQO is interesting for the same reasons and in the same way but it’s also got a tiny hard drive and is pricey.  other UMPCs like the Sony one are also neat but expensive. The ARCHOS 504 has a 160 GB hard drive but doesn’t do WiFi or IR since it’s just a media player.

So what I want is a device with several hundred GB of file storage, Wi-Fi  and wireless broadband connectivity, that can be used as a universal remote and a media player with local and streaming capability, preferably running Linux, and can be hooked up both to a TV (make it HDTV) or a computer monitor and keyboard, but with a built-in hi res display and a decent input device for mobile use. It should be easily switchable from function to function and have enough horsepower to be responsive whatever it’s doing.  It should fit in my pocket–perhaps not my shirt pocket but baggy pants or a jacket.  I guess while you’re at it let it be my Blackberry and hi-res digital camera too.

The funny thing is there are pieces of this device in all the things I’ve mentioned–I could make it with those devices and a bunch of double-sided tape–but it would cost upwards of $2k and not actually be logically interconnected.  I do, however, believe that in 5 years we will be able to do exactly this.