Actually, part of the idea isn’t bad. It’s just that there’s a fundamentally difficult and unsolved problem that got in the way: the desire to transmit video over the air to the display.
With bi-directional, real-time video and control between devices, the Smart Display could have had a different future. But the technology isn’t there yet. The bandwidth necessary is too high.
However, when the problem gets solved I’m not sure if Smart Displays will come back in the same form. If the technology issues can be practically solved, it could ignite an explosion of Tablet PC adopters instead. Just having real wireless projectors could spawn a new generation of Tablet applications in scholarly and corporate education.
Another problem with Smart Displays is the price. Like Larry Ellison’s diskless computers, once you build them the price really isn’t that compelling. If you could magically drop the price let’s say a magnitude or so, you might have something. But, of course, this is impossible. In fact, if it were possible to drop the price for a specialty item such as these, the prices would obviously drop for all the mass market products too. It’s a dilemma that the MBAs missed again. Sorry guys. Better luck next time.