This is much closer to what I want than Microsoft’s Tablet PC. Not quite there, cause I still want the keyboard, but pretty close. There’s nothing really aweinspiring about the technology; it’s just X Windows for Microsoft. Still pretty sexy.
There’s actually no reason Apple couldn’t do something like this for the Mac, although they’d need to provide remote display capabilities in Aqua. Still, why not? PDF might be a little heavyweight for transmission over WiFi, I suppose.
The real “digital hub” revolution comes when WiFi gets built into the television, DVD player, and so on. However, free-roaming lightweight devices that leave the computing power in various hubs are an important part of that. The DVR talks to the central processor, which runs the portable display, and so on. Gotta be small, gotta be light.
Thinking more on roaming devices, what might be useful is some sort of standard database discovery protocol. You want to be able to tell roaming devices in your vicinity what sort of information you’ve got, and allow them to do queries based on that. Perhaps you do need some intelligence in the device after all.
Would that intelligence be appropriate for home use? Sure; a lot of what you want to do/know with the DVD and the DVR and so on are lookups anyhow. You probably need a discovery process for procedures you can run, as well. The real trick is the higher level UI stuff, that knits it all together into a coherent whole.
“Borders Hub is offering the database Books in Store with the description ‘Books available in the store.’ Subscribe?” Tabs, maybe, to flip between databases. Some standard query interface stuff.