back to article Firm pitches tech trio powered by portable processor

CES 2012 Week Tech-design outfit I'm has unveiled ambitious plans for a collection of mobile devices which all run off a single, keyring-sized processing hub. I'm Core The I'm Core squeezes a quad-core processor, Sim card, GPS pick-up and Wi-Fi radio and more into a diddy unit which becomes the brains for a phone, tablet …


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  1. Aaron Em

    Hope it's not vaporware

    Awful name, but an incredibly nifty idea -- lose your phone? So what? It's just a thin client -- no worries, so long as you keep hold of the CPU attached to your keyring/necklace/ill-considered piercing.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      "Ill considered"? I think not!

      All those piercings in "private" places were obviously smart people getting future-proofed for devices like these.

      Now they're all healed up and ready to clip their CPU up to their *ahem*, who's the foolish one now?

      You know, it does bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "F***ing computer!"...

      Ok, I'm going, I'm going...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just one question?

    Where's the battery?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      my thoughts. Power is usually a premium. induction powered? Otherwise a neat idea. Bet it costs more than other fruit branded kit though.

  3. Dr. Mouse

    About time!

    Ive wondered before why a "smartphone" needs to contain all the gubbins it does. My own idea was a "dumb" phone which does phone calls and text messages only, in a tiny package, then a "smart" termial, which can do all the cool stuff and uses the dumb phone for connectivity. This goes much further... I like it, I want it :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this stuff doesn't look at all like certain Apple products...

  5. Fuzz

    Have you seen my phone?

    Looks like a mess to me.

    Which part rings? What happens when you take the screen to work and leave the other part at home? How big is the hub? Why would I want to carry and charge two gadgets to do the work of the one I have now? What happens when the girlfriend wants to watch TV but I'm out with the phone? Or use the computer whilst I'm watching the TV?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @How big is the hub?

      'keyring-sized processing hub.' <<< from the first paragraph, just don't lose your keys! ;0)

      Re your last two questions, I would hope that the various screens could be paired with multiple hubs to cover this (but also that some sort of secure pairing is required to prevent the finder of your keys accessing your data!)

    2. Andy Nugent

      re: Have you seen my phone?

      I think you might be missing the point. Your girlfriend will watch TV using her core gadget.

      The screens just become peripherals anyone can use.

      You walk into a hotel room, and the TV links to it.

      You get on a plane/train/car and the display mounted in front of you links to it.

      You sit at someones desk and you get your desktop on their display / keyboard / mouse / whatever.

      You give a presentation and the projector links to it.

      You're going out climbing/skiing/biking, so you take a bulky ruggerdised display to link to it.

      You're going to work so you take you thin, large screen, iPhone-esque handset to link to it.


      You upgrade to the new 4G 8-core version, and all the other screens/peripherals still work.

      Lots of practical issues (battery life mostly) others have mentioned. But a very cool idea.

  6. tanj666

    This is where it's at!

    I like this idea, I wonder if they'll allow other manufacturers to add devices to these 'circles' of theirs?

    put the processing/identity components out of sight and hang the displays and i/o devices wirelessly off it.

    Hopefully there will be some kind of encryption in the pairings so that people can't just use someone else's hub (and bandwidth etc).

    Something biometric based on brainwave patterns? Oops, too star trek. Perhaps simply Kirlian field based then? Argh, wrong book this time.

    well, whatever, you know what I really mean don't you? Something to authenticate the user properly

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      According to their website the matchbox sided core has a fingerprint reader.

  7. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!


    Looks like an interesting bit of design, it may be something worth keeping an eye on.

    However it all does look a bit "Apple-ly" and I'm sure that will have been noticed by other people on here. And before you ask, I'm not going to mention rounded corners as that "Joke" got old a long time ago...

  8. Caff

    Sounds like a lot of things to lose

  9. jai

    can't it really stream all that display data wirelessly? or, more correctly, without annoying lag?

    while i appreciate the cool concept, i'm dubious of how practical it'll be

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can it really stream all that display data wirelessly?

      @jai - Can it really stream all that display data wirelessly? No

      Can it really fit a CPU, wifi chip, sim card, battery, memory in a keyfob-size container? No

      Can a keyfob size container really dissipate the heat of a CPU, etc? No

      Sometime, maybe, but not this year and not next year.

      1. Ru

        Can it really fit a CPU, wifi chip, sim card, battery, memory in a keyfob-size container? Yes. Do keep up; the graphics suggest quite a chunky keyfob, and there's more than enough room in that for a complete ARM SoC based device and little cell radio.

        Can a keyfob size container really dissipate the heat of a CPU, etc? Yes. Heat output of small modern devices is low, because their power requirements are low. If the case is made of metal and thermally coupled to the hottest components, it may well dissipate heat more effectively than your mobile phone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Do keep up...

          @Ru - the watch made by this company has a useful battery life of 3 hours, and it's a lot bigger.

  10. Silverburn
    Thumb Up

    Wireless problems

    Like the idea, but can't help wonder about the inherent performance/latency issues with wireless. It will be especially noticeable with the displays.

    I'll repeat - I would geniunely like to see this working. Even if the core device was Apple TV size, it would still be a practical proposition (though maybe not exactly pocket friendly).

  11. PikeyDawg

    Not sure if this is just eye candy

    ...but the concept of a single, portable, ubiquitous computing device has always been something I have been enamored with - from the Atrix to the Transformer.

    Don't get me wrong, there are still use cases for real laptops and desktops, but if we're not already here, we're pretty damn close to where 90+% of personal computing can be done with the next gen (like the Tegra 3) mobile processors. Why do I need 5 different mini-computers (smart phone, laptop, tablet, smart tv, in-car navigation) that don't really sync anything when one core device, OS and set of information could power it all assuming, of course, the interconnectivity is available.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how good will it be for Angry Birds?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do a wrist watch too

    The video ( shows an android watch, I assume it needs the I'm Core in your pocket to work, but if so, I don't know why it's quite so chunky, so maybe it's a separate device from the rest of the I'm Circle technology which would be a pity.

    1. Aaron Em

      Would be nice if

      you could get a watch which either doubled as, or had a space to dock, the "I'm Core". (God what an awful name, I seriously hope they call it something else if they ever make it to market.) Worried about losing it? Strap it to your wrist.

  14. Toastan Buttar

    Awful name

    The worst name since "That's" tapes.

  15. b166er

    Anny Nugent - But the real question is, Can I watch his girlfriend using her core gadget on TV?

    Ideas like this are great, but until hell freezes over and the big hitters agree a common 'core brain' form factor, it'll never happen, because one or other of the peripherals will be utter toot and we'll never buy it.

  16. TheOtherHobbbes

    Nice idea

    Good to see someone trying something new.

    Problem is, Apple are going to be after the 'i'm' branding like a gastrically challenged cat after a litter box.

    And the watch - the only item that isn't a 3D rendering - is actually kind of thick and ugly.

    Will there be a music and content store to match iTunes? I'd guess not. But we'll see.

    Still - it's impressive to see a design company trying to out-fruit the malean ones, and apparently succeeding.

  17. Paul 87

    Looks like a promising idea, being able to use the same core for both a smartphone, tablet and a TV trims down the expense, though I'd imagine not by a lot given that screens comprise approximately 50% of the cost of a device, and you still need to include some basic processing power to recieve and authenticate the connection.

    What I would be interested to find out is the effect on battery life; particularly as each component presumably carries their own power supply.

  18. Dick Emery
    Thumb Up

    Thin mobile clients

    I'd like to see more of this type of tech being used. Who really needs all that power in lots of different devices when one device and a thin client device can do the same? I'd guess devices would need less power too. Hey why not a more powerful variant of these at every wifi access point?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now I've got TWO boxes to lug about. A keyfob is only handy if you carry your keys around with you (I don't: my door keys stay in the car, the car keys go in a coat pocket).

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