Websplitter: Multi-device Collaborative Web Browsing Using Bluetooth
Mahmoud Naghshineh & Nathan Lee
IBM Research

In the current content interaction and application models, the user Internet experience is mostly based on using a single device. In fact, most pervasive computing and portable devices have specialized capabilities and the emerging trend is towards smaller and more lightweight models that the user can carry and operate anytime, anywhere. However, every device is designed for presentation and delivery of a specific type of content. This being low resolution data in the case of a PDA, combined with voice in a smart phone or a simple headset for voice/sound interactions. With the existing trend in every user carrying more than one such device, Bluetooth enables a much richer Internet user experience by establishing a personal area network between devices and enabling the web/application content distribution and interaction over a multiplicity of devices. The deployment of Bluetooth makes it possible to modify the current application model. WebSplitter makes use of this collaboration capabilities introduced by Bluetooth into portable devices. With Websplitter, rather than confining the output results of an information query to the lone requesting mobile device, the output paradigm for mobile networked devices is extended to permit these devices to utilize the multimedia output capabilities of other networked devices, both mobile and fixed. For example, a wireless PDA that lacks audio output is enabled by the WebSplitter application to exploit a Bluetooth enabled stereo speaker in the vicinity for playback of the audio component of each downloaded Web page. Similarly, if there is a projection display in the room, then the WebSplitter application enables the PDA to redirect part of the output of its Web browsing session onto the large display. In addition, WebSplitter may send a transcoded version of each Web page to the PDA for remote control purposes. The figure below illustrates a home scenario where the web document is sent to a network enabled display so that a group of people can easily watch at the same time. The audio is sent to the networked speakers and a outline of the page is sent to the Bluetooth enabled PDA for remote control. The Websplitter enables multiple devices and multiple users to collaborate and jointly share the whole output or part of the output of a Web browsing session.