Topic: Features you would want to have handy.
To me an Alarm clock has always been 10-20 years behind on the technology curve... I completely relate to your concept of bringing it up to date.
Things an Alarm Clock in the era of pocket PCs (which are like 1/10th the size of your typical alarm clock and have to contain thier own battery pack) should be able to do.
Voice Recognition.... it shouldn't be on all the time. for 5 minutes after the alarm goes off it should be willing to accept a command.
"Snooze 5" - 5 minute snooze
"Snooze 10" - 10 minute snooze
"Snooze 15" - 15 minute snooze
"plan b" - switch to a pre-determined alarm time. For instance if you normally jog before work so get up at 6:30 you could have plan B to compensate for not jogging... in other words it would switch to 7 or 7:30 depending on what plan b was set to
"Day" - text to speech day of the week.
"events" - reach into a sync'd calander and read via text to speech the appointments planned. (if use desires)
"Time" - text to speech time
"Weather" - RSS feed from like theweatherchannel.com or something read via text to speech for a predefined zip code.
"Lights" - for people with "home commander" type internet lighting... it should turn on the lights in the bedroom.
You should be able to set the alarm to do the following
3.) Annoying buzz
4.) MPEG movie?
5.) News web video feed?
Modes - current alarms are DUMB. I have to tell them it is the weekend... it shouldn't be that way.
1.) Work week (M-F)
2.) Every day
3.) Single run
4.) Custom day routine.
It should of course have a battery backup... goes without saying.
Set Time - FROM MILITARY SITES OR ATOMIC CLOCK (or even Chumby.com). - Why would I have to set the time when the thing has a connection to the net?
Phone Directory, web-based (VoIP) service, skype, voice activated dialing.
Phone Disable - I'd like this think to be so patched into your VoIP service that you have powers over it... or even just a phone pass-through where you plug a land-line into it and it can dial the phone but also at night it would interrupt the "ring" and basically put the phone in silent mode until your alarm went off. Let some other phone ring... just not the one next to the bed.
Blue tooth - basically to get a keyboard and mouse on it if you really wanted.
Network access to a windows domain.
Ability to remote console to it from a regular machine on the network.
Still thinking about the rest.