baudman wrote:I vote +1 for telephony - good for contact/comm's/safety/security. Besides, as mentioned ^, why would you bother leaving them out?
Skype or other similar IP telephony, via the wifi. Unfortunately, it wouldn't come with the quality or guarantee of service that the public network comes with now (legislated).
That also wouldn't give any option of phone reception (even just for carrier-non-specific universal 112 emergency calls) while out on the road, which is one positive of having phone capability in this device.
I've been thinking more on the idea of having a small display on the bars, bluetooth tethered to the phone (which could stay in your pocket, saddlebag or pannier). That's following another trend I expect to happen in computing; having a single "computer" device, with multiple interfaces for different contexts.
Phones these days have the processing power to do just about everything most people use computers for - that is, web browsing, email, office suite, low-duty image manipulation. The main shortcomings are the screen size and input method... I wouldn't want to write a book on a 4" touchscreen keyboard, even though my phone has a word processor app on it.
I've imagined a "dumb laptop", with a 14-17" screen and keyboard, which could be used as a more comfortable interface to interact with a phone's processor. Or a dumb desktop, with a 24" monitor, keyboard and mouse. Maybe not quite practical with the processing power of current generation phones, but they're really not far off.
That's assuming that the processor unit still resembles a phone. It may not. The 4-inch-touch-screen-with-mic-and-speaker might just be another interchangeable I/O device that talks to the processor of our personal computer thing, which could just be a box with a switch that lives in our pocket. Or is surgically implanted in... ahem, let's not get ahead of ourselves
So, this handlebar-mounted bike computer display unit fits in with that model. It's another context-appropriate interface to a "phone"'s processing power. But this time, it's smaller (and more robust) than a typical phone, as befits the purpose.
For the sake of conserving phone battery, the display unit could have its own GPS built in. I have an external bluetooth GPS unit (which I bought to use with a few-generations-ago phone which had maps and bluetooth, but no internal GPS). It has battery capacity to run GPS and BT for 24 hours or so (in a unit the size of a matchbox that cost about $35, 5 years ago). I sometimes use it on longer rides, to feed GPS data into my phone to save phone battery (since bluetooth consumes less power than GPS). So this hypothetical handlebar unit could do the same - feed GPS to the phone via BT, as well as providing a display and basic control interface.
But then, we're then getting close to having something that is, functionally, a current generation Garmin, with a bluetooth link to send data to your smartphone for instant Strava / Facebook uploads. And that really isn't a very exciting idea.
No, I still think there's a future for an Android-powered bike computer. With built-in phone, camera and web browser.