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The Superbook: Turn your smartphone into a laptop for $99 (kickstarter.com)
101 points by brahmwg on July 22, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 132 comments



Motorola did this 5 years ago. Nobody cared. http://www.digitaltrends.com/buying-guides/a-complete-guide-...

I think the main problem is who wants to carry around a laptop that you have to plug your phone in to use? That's a pretty big "Accessory." I mean, if you already are carrying something around as big as a laptop, why cripple it with phone hardware?

I think a more compelling use-case would be a phone dock video and usb connections. But I don't know if even that is compelling enough to be successful.\

I've thought that a phone would make a great trackpad for a laptop. Maybe instead of the phone being the laptop, it just integrates nicely (app sync, etc...) and you socket in as a trackpad and secondary "info" display.


Motorola built an accessory for a single phone. This is different: it's a combo of keyboard+display+mouse for any phone that can handle the I/O.

I could see this working if the devices were reasonably common in e.g. airports, hotels, etc. But they would have to be reasonably ubiquitous for you to confidently forego dragging along a laptop.


The issue 5 years ago for me was that phones were not very good 5 years ago. Now processors in phones are excellent and they are pushing out 1080 or even 1440 res on the phone and have 4+ GB RAM.

For having a full screen version of Office or browsing it looks great. Plus it is only $99 and all my data is on my phone so if it gets broken or lost it isn't a big deal (although if my phone gets broken or lost it is a big deal, depends if the trade off is worth it to you).

I love the idea and I think for some people it would be all the "computer" they ever need.


My buddy had an atrix and he got the laptop dock; it was actually OK, but since it was limited to that one phone it didn't work out long term (he switched phones about a year in).

There are probably folks who don't do much more than word processing and email, in which case this (a screen + keyboard + battery for your phone) might actually be useful. I feel like this is the niche that tablets w/ keyboards fill -- this will have to compete directly with those. It has the benefit of the trackpad, which feels more like a full laptop.


I still have a Lapdock. I use mine as a handy workbench monitory/keyboard/battery setup for the plethora of small device I have that fit in its squid-like cable adapters: raspberry Pi's, beagleboards, and so on. If but for that stupid decision to make non-standard i/o ports, the Lapdock probably could have been a more useful general-purpose dock, already.

That's really something to keep in mind. Superbook is one thing, but its really just a fixed Lapdock with a different ethos regarding interoperability.


This is a wonderful idea. I know at least three people in my family who do all of their computing on their smartphone. My fiancee is one of them. She only uses a computer when she needs to edit some documents. I think this would be an ideal accessory for her, but she uses an iPhone.


There are a variety of apps that let you use your phone as a touchpad with a variety (or lack) of information on your phone. Somewhat nice for certain scenarios.

Disclaimer: I haven't used that sort of setup since the 1st gen iphone and windows xp.


Palm built a mobile device 7 years before the iphone...


And Apple build mobile device 14 years before the iPhone. So?


Oh hey guys, this is us. Thanks for posting!

I wasn't going to post our product in HN, since tech-specs wise this tends to be a high-end audience, but I wanted to share a little bit about what we're trying to accomplish and the reasoning behind the entry level specs.

The Superbook is the attempt to prove that the concept of device convergence and the benefits of continuum are exciting enough to 1) get most people to not need a laptop and 2) to provide mobile-first economies to have an affordable option to do work without switching OS or need to buy another device.

Is it going to replace the MBP in silicon valley? Not yet. Most of the time I require higher specs too. But for most of the world that uses their laptop primarily for browsing the internet, writing documents, and watching movies on a larger screen - it's enough. And it's also affordable enough that everyone can try the concept out. We're aiming to build both the hardware and software that makes this possible, with enough flexibility that you can run it on any Android phone and with no technical knowledge needed.

What's probably my favorite use case: having come from a non-profit background (YC S14, Bayes Impact) it's really awesome to see tech impact the world. We are really really excited to be working with the Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom Education Project to provide Superbooks to kids in South Africa so they can learn without restraints. Even having the basic keyboard, mouse, and display will provide a great opportunity to better take in content and engage.

Happy to pop back in [doing Kickstarter support for the next hour] and answer questions if folks on HN are curious. We're also in SF, so feel free to reach out and drop by to see the prototypes! (email in profile)


Cool, I'll repost here.

I having trouble wrapping my mind around how this might possibly work.

It is mentioned that "all that it takes" is launching the application on the phone.

Then what ?

All that is shown on the video is a static screenshot.

Assuming this application is able to generate video-out through USB or communicate via USB with another CPU, without OS or the phone manufacturer's support, will this application have access to the other applications on the Android phone ? How ?

I'm not familiar with Android, but if I'm not mistaken on iOS this would be impossible. Doesn't each app run in it's own sandbox, only visible by the smartphone OS ?


Ah so we are the makers of Andromium, an android app that provides Android in the desktop interface. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.andromium....


That's great, I'll try it, how does it work ?



You got it. DisplayLink plus our launcher enables us to be plugged in and run right on the Superbook.


Is there any way your hardware would support something like being the KVM for a headless server (or family member's computer that you are working on) or something?


So as long as you can connect the usb port on to the headless server to the Superbook, and install the correct driver first. Then yes, the Superbook can be used as KVM for Windows/OSX and some linux computers. I'll put my disclaimer here of: theoretically possible but not tested.


Seems unlikely, given that it lacks any kind of networking (it relies on the phone for that). Of course, with a phone plugged into it you could use an android VNC app.


I meant physically plugging it in.


How many times do we have to watch this exact kickstarter project fail to deliver? There have been countless made for phones, raspberry pis, and tablets. Maybe they'll ship, but the ux is trash especially considering you can get a chromebook for $100 more.

What is the actual benefit of this device? Instead of toting around a chromebook, you tote around the shell of a chromebook? My laptop is never 'out of sync' that problem was fixed years ago. IF I wanted laptop productivity I'd... use a laptop?


Can you link? I'm interested in what previous attempts look like and don't follow kickstarter much.

I imagine as phones get faster & better this setup continues to work, vs chromebook is forever slow. In the future if we could attach USB peripherals and if we could have a high-res (2k / retina) LCD it'd be awesome.

I have a little $40 ipad retina LCD I use with a displayport driver chip and I power it via a $20 usb battery pack, but it's for use with full computers only, not android.


I'm not really sure why people keep thinking that you're supposed to lug this around. If I were to get this, I would only use it at home when a keyboard and bigger screen would be nice; or I would buy one for the office and the house. imo the whole point of this is so you wouldn't have to carry anything huge anymore.


Then why a laptop form factor? Laptops exist to be lugged around.


If I'm going to park one at home and at the office, it's going to have to be better than what $99 buys you. Hell, my desk keyboard alone costs more than that. So I compromise with that teensy eensy screen and (what I have to guess to be...) a mediocre-at-best keyboard so that I ... don't have to carry it around? Why not a docking station into which I can plug whatever screen and keyboard I desire?

I dunno, I don't care to come across as a hater, but this looks like one of those things that is cool at first glance with all kinds of possible use cases, but you buy it, reality kicks in, and it gathers dust after a month.


I don't disagree with your desire for better quality, but as of this moment; I'm not aware of any competing products that allow your phone to transform into a laptop. The only one I was aware of is a Motorola product from 2-3 years back. If there is one, feel free to link to it.

Your complaint sounds a lot like the complaints that people made when the iPhone first came out: nitpicking the specs and disregarding the paradigm shift that it brings to the table.


This isn't a paradigm shift. This is dock for your phone. It's literally the same paradigm as a laptop dock. You plug in your device and get to use it with a bigger screen and keyboard. That's all.

I've been proven wrong before, so it could certainly happen again, but I just cannot see this being a widely-desired product. How large is the set of people who want a tiny, low-powered laptop that is useless without a phone tethered to it? This is a geek fantasy, where we imagine that having a single computing device is better somehow, despite there being no meaningful scenarios that this enables.


> This isn't a paradigm shift. This is dock for your phone. It's literally the same paradigm as a laptop dock.

This is NOT a laptop dock. You speak as if there are already tons of other docks for phones. I'm not aware of any aside from that old Motorola dock. Am I wrong?

You can say the same thing about the iPhone. "It's just a Blackberry without the keyboard... or a Palm without a pen." "The app store is not anything new that we haven't seen from the carriers" The list goes on.

> How large is the set of people who want a tiny, low-powered laptop that is useless without a phone tethered to it?

I don't know but I do know in Asia (and in places like Manhattan) there are a lot of people who live in tiny apartments and who primarily use their phones as their primary (or really their only) personal computer. This would be useful for them. It may not be this company that popularizes this design, but I predict it will be widespread in the coming years.

> despite there being no meaningful scenarios that this enables

ok this is already not true. Not having to carry something as big as a laptop is already a meaningful use case.

> This is a geek fantasy, where we imagine that having a single computing device is better someho

It's not a fantasy when 1. someone has already made it and 2. when you look beyond the suburbs and your own needs and taste. Not everyone needs a super powered laptop or for that matter can even afford one. Also not everyone knows how to sync their phone with their other computer


> You speak as if there are already tons of other docks for phones.

I didn't speak that way at all. This isn't a new category of device or concept (given Motorola's device and Continuum from Microsoft), but that's not the point. A paradigm shift is not merely defined by the creation of a new product. "Hey, I taped a duck to a car. Everybody needs a duckcar. What a paradigm shift!"

The point is that this isn't a useful product for the vast majority of people. Who wants to sit on the couch using their laptop with a phone awkwardly tethered to it? Who wants to have a laptop that they can't simply hand to someone else to use (without also handing them their phone, or having them install some app on their phone, which must also run Android). Who wants to invest $100 (more after the early bird kickstarter stuff is done) in a device that has a crummy screen and probably a crummy touchpad and keyboard when they could buy a better chromebook or similar device for $200, and end up with a laptop that doesn't have the same shortcomings? Who's needs are better filled by this than by a separate device?

Again, I think this is a geek fantasy. We see two devices that are both computers and think "hey, we should merge these". But that doesn't provide any utility. It doesn't save much if any money. It doesn't enable new functionality. It does exactly what mikestew said: it gathers dust.

This is very much like the Asus Padphone. It sounds interesting to merge a phone and a tablet like this, but it's not actually useful. You just end up with a tablet that's useless without the phone. It's not a better experience in any way.


> This isn't a new category of device or concep

Neither was the iPhone or the iPad ("it's just a bigger iPhone")

> The point is that this isn't a useful product for the vast majority of people.

How do you know for sure? This isn't a device that's targeted for HN users.

> But that doesn't provide any utility.

It does and you still haven't disputed my point: Not having to carry a 12in laptop in the subway. There are also plenty of people who are too poor to afford a laptop. They can afford this. Also there are also a lot of people who can't afford cloud features and don't know how to sync a phone and laptop.

> that has a crummy screen and probably a crummy touchpad

There are many people who don't care about the specs in this world. Not everyone is a techie and not everyone wants the very best.

> It doesn't enable new functionality.

No it doesn't for us, but it does for people who don't own a separate desktop or laptop. You have to look beyond yourself, your own social circle, and the suburbs that you live in.

> Who wants to have a laptop that they can't simply hand to someone else to use

Similar to how a lot of smart phones really suck on battery life, I can imagine accessories being made for this - like a case with a clip or better yet a case with a slip cover that you can slide the phone into. Even then at this price point and given the demographic that they're targetting, this probably won't be a problem.

> This is very much like the Asus Padphone. It sounds interesting to merge a phone and a tablet like this, but it's not actually useful.

That's funny. Everyone, including myself, made fun of Samsung for doing the same thing with the Note. Phablets have been selling just fine for years now. Again just because it's not useful for you personally, it doesn't mean that there isn't a market or need for it. The only thing that the Asus Padphone proves is that ideas are cheap. Execution is where it counts.


> Neither was the iPhone or the iPad ("it's just a bigger iPhone")

The iPhone was a paradigm shift because it was SO MUCH BETTER. The iPad was a paradigm shift because it was a new form factor that people wanted. It solved the problem of reading on a small phone screen (especially before large screen phones were common) and the problem of lugging/holding a laptop for reading. It also got better battery life than most laptops and phones at the time.

In what way is this a better experience?

> How do you know for sure? This isn't a device that's targeted for HN users.

Who is the target, then?

> It does and you still haven't disputed my point: Not having to carry a 12in laptop in the subway.

How does this solve the problem of carrying a laptop? It is effectively a laptop, just a less useful/more limited one. Yeah, you can just not carry this, and I guess that "solves" the problem, but you can also just not carry your laptop and the problem is solved the same way.

> There are also plenty of people who are too poor to afford a laptop. They can afford this.

These hypothetical people can afford a high-powered phone and $100 for a glorified dock but can't afford $150 for a dedicated chromebook. You think this is really a large population of potential customers? You think a lot of people who cannot afford $150 are going to spend $100 on a clearly non-critical device?

> Also there are also a lot of people who can't afford cloud features and don't know how to sync a phone and laptop.

Your hypothetical customer base seems really farfetched. If you "can't afford cloud features", you probably can't afford a $100 dock. In reality, this customer base is largely using the free 15 gigs from Google. The people who can't afford to pay for more exist, but they're not likely to be buying this, and they're not likely to be using high-end phones with huge amounts of storage either, so the problem of syncing is a bit of a red herring anyway.

As for not knowing how to sync a laptop and phone, no one does that manually anymore. You use web-based products for most things and the stuff like photos gets gets synced automatically.

> No it doesn't for us, but it does for people who don't own a separate desktop or laptop. You have to look beyond yourself, your own social circle, and the suburbs that you live in.

Are poor people supposed to be too dumb to realize that they would be better off buying a chromebook for only a little more? Your children can use your chromebook for homework while you check the news on your phone or take it with you to the store. You can leave your chromebook for your spouse when you go to work. You can still use your chomebook when your phone battery is dead. This is not a replacement for a laptop. It's a phone accessory. The kickstarter page says so clearly.

Do you imagine that there is an army of poor people holding exactly $100 and desperate to spend it on luxury technology and not, say, basic necessities?

> That's funny. Everyone, including myself, made fun of Samsung for doing the same thing with the Note. Phablets have been selling just fine for years now. Again just because it's not useful for you personally, it doesn't mean that there isn't a market or need for it. The only thing that the Asus Padphone proves is that ideas are cheap. Execution is where it counts.

Maybe type "asus padphone" (or "asus padfone" since I guess I spelled it wrong) into a search engine to see what I'm talking about before responding dismissively? The padfone wasn't a "phablet". It was a phone that could mount in a tablet dock to become a tablet. It was a niche item that didn't catch on despite multiple iterations because a tablet that's useless without a phone and costs almost as much as a standalone tablet has a pretty small market of mostly gadget geeks.


> The iPhone was a paradigm shift because it was SO MUCH BETTER

Yes. Now techies know that in hindsight. However before it was released many of us complained that the specs were crap and that it didn't have a physical keyboard which is why I used it as an example. The same thing happened with the iPad when it was derided as just a "bigger iPhone" and that "there have been plenty of good enough Windows based tablets in existence".

> In what way is this a better experience?

I'm not going to repeat my other points a 3rd time. I've already made my points in my previous replies.

> It solved the problem of reading on a small phone screen (especially before large screen phones were common) and the problem of lugging/holding a laptop for reading

What if you don't want a separate tablet or can't afford a decent one? What if you don't want to lug around anything the size of a tablet? There are also issues with sync. These are all common issues for non-techies living in urban areas with little living space.

> These hypothetical people can afford a high-powered phone and $100 for a glorified dock but can't afford $150 for a dedicated chromebook.

The first chromebooks launched at $350 with decent ones at $450 (using your example "Why would anyone want to buy a chrome book when a real laptop is $50 more? What features does it have that MS laptops dont? Why would anyone buy a device that only works if you hvae an internet connection?"). Given time, better logistics, and scale; $100 probably isn't going to be the long term price for this type of dock so there will eventually be a greater price difference than just $50 (within 1-2 years it'll be priced at $50 and maybe even less). History has proven time and again that electronics get cheaper, faster, and better over time. Aside from price, there's also the issue of syncing between two devices.

> In reality, this customer base is largely using the free 15 gigs from Google.

There are millions of people who can't afford a phone with Android proper (bundled with Google services and apps) and therefore don't have the free 15 gigs. There are also a lot of people who get charged exhorbitant fees for data (wifi and mobile). This only seems far fetched if you no experience with developing nations or even provinces.

> Do you imagine that there is an army of poor people holding exactly $100 and desperate to spend it on luxury technology and not, say, basic necessities?

I don't have to imagine anything. Even in China's poorest remote countrysides, many farmers own LCD TVs. Some even have a satellite dish to pair with it.

> Maybe type "asus padphone" (or "asus padfone" since I guess I spelled it wrong) into a search engine to see what I'm talking about before responding dismissively?

The problem with this example is the same as citing the Motorola Atria (or Motorola's docking phone). Only a specific phone model from a specific manufacturer can use the dock. This is really different from being able to use ANY Android phone. Also most people don't have access to telecom phone subsidies which shave off a few hundred $ off the true price. The PadPhone was released at $550 without a keyboard which is a big difference when you compare it to $100.


> Yes. Now techies know that in hindsight. However before it was released many of us complained that the specs were crap...

You're making the mistake of assuming that because occasionally new products are dismissed incorrectly (iPhone, iPad), that means other new products being dismissed are being incorrectly dismissed. New products get introduced quite frequently and most of them never gain any traction.

> I'm not going to repeat my other points a 3rd time. I've already made my points in my previous replies.

Yeah, you haven't actually enumerated real problems that this solves. You are ignoring real issues with this design (useless without a phone) and claiming benefits it doesn't have (no need to carry it? Cheaper?). The only benefit seems to be that you don't need to sync it.

> What if you don't want a separate tablet or can't afford a decent one? What if you don't want to lug around anything the size of a tablet? There are also issues with sync. These are all common issues for non-techies living in urban areas with little living space.

Then you don't buy an iPad. I'm not sure what your point was with all this.

> The first chromebooks launched at $349 (using your example "Why would anyone want to buy a chrome book when a real laptop is $50 more? What features does it have that MS laptops dont? Why would anyone buy a device that only works if you hvae an internet connection?").

Yeah, the first chrome books were too expensive and basically no one bought them because they were a terrible buy. I feel like you're making my argument for me at this point.

> Given time, better logistics, and scale; $100 probably isn't going to be the long term price for this type of dock so there will eventually be a greater price difference than just $50 (within 1-2 years it'll be priced at $50 and maybe even less). History has proven time and again that electronics get cheaper, faster, and better over time.

Yep, Chromebooks are getting cheaper too. In 1-2 years a Chromebook will probably cost $100. I don't know why you imagine that this think will drop in price but a Chromebook prices will stagnate, especially since this this is basically just a Chromebook without the processor.

> Aside from price, there's also the issue of syncing between two devices.

You are way overstating this issue. The set of people who can install the app and get this working overlaps hugely with the set of people who can manage basic sync.

> There are millions of people who can't afford a phone with Android proper (bundled with Google services and apps) and therefore don't have the free 15 gigs. There are also a lot of people who get charged exhorbitant fees for data (wifi and mobile). This only seems far fetched if you no experience with developing nations or even provinces.

And people who can't afford Android phones are the target market? Which is why this thing only has a qwerty keyboard and an American power plug?

If I couldn't afford a full fledged Android phone, I also don't know if I'd spend $100 on a dock that requires Android to operate. That's a risky purchase. Does the app even work without Google services? (I honestly don't know.) Will your phone be powerful enough for the dock? (They require a pretty high spec phone.)

> I don't have to imagine anything. Even in China's poorest remote countrysides, many farmers own LCD TVs. Some even have a satellite dish to pair with it.

Yep, because a TV and satellite provide real entertainment value. The question is what value this dock delivers to that poor rural farmer that makes it worth $100.

> The problem with this example is the same as citing the Motorola Atria (or Motorola's docking phone). Only a specific phone model from a specific manufacturer can use the dock. This is really different from being able to use ANY Android phone. Also most people don't have access to telecom phone subsidies which shave off a few hundred $ off the true price. The PadPhone was released at $550 without a keyboard which is a big difference when you compare it to $100.

You're right. These guys have perfected the English keyboard and American power plug dock that rural farmers in China have been waiting for. This is definitely not a bad product and the past failures of similar products do not in any way indicate the lack of a market, only that the product wasn't perfect. But this product is perfect for the rural Chinese market they are clearly aiming for with their English Kickstarter page and high end phone requirements. They fixed the one and only problem which was that previous products didn't work with as many phones.

Edit: At this point, I should point out that you aren't even arguing that this is a good product anymore. You're arguing that some hypothetical future version that costs half as much could be a good product.


> You're making the mistake of assuming that because occasionally new products are dismissed incorrectly

Well your mistake is that my assumption is less correct than yours. What makes you 100% sure that your dismissals are correct? Right now the market hasn't proven either of us right. Give it 3-5 years. Right now the Kickstarter campaign is in my favor.

> Yeah, you haven't actually enumerated real problems that this solves.

I can argue that you're ignoring problems I bring up just because it doesn't apply to you personally. Having to carry a laptop everywhere is a real pain point which increases depending on where you live. Just because it isn't a problem for you personally it doesn't mean that it's not a real problem that a lot of people face, even in the US. It's hard to understand this if you've never lived in a dense urban metro. People don't usually go straight home to their closet sized apartment. They stay out for hours before going home and usually they don't have a car.

> You are ignoring real issues with this design (useless without a phone)

It's like arguing headphones are bad because you can't use them without an audio device. This is just a bad argument. Both headphones and this dock augment the products that they pair with; not being an independent product doesn't make it bad.

> Yeah, the first chrome books were too expensive and basically no one bought them because they were a terrible buy.

Yet the price eventually came down and now they're a force to be reckoned with even though they still have most of the weaknesses that pundits complained about. It's still possible to buy a real laptop for a little more cash. I'm pretty sure this favors my side of the argument and not yours.

> The set of people who can install the app and get this working overlaps hugely with the set of people who can manage basic sync.

How can you be so sure about this? Installing an app is much easier than syncing two or more devices. Besides this isn't only issue preventing sync, which again you're conveniently ignoring.

> And people who can't afford Android phones are the target market? Which is why this thing only has a qwerty keyboard and an American power plug?

I was speaking about the long term potential of the device, and not short term, initial quarterly sales figures. Chromebook wouldn't exist if Google made its decision solely on the 1st year of sales.

> I also don't know if I'd spend $100 on a dock that requires Android to operate.

It probably wont' be $100 by the time it reaches those markets.

> Yep, because a TV and satellite provide real entertainment value

And phones with installed movies and video games don't?

> But this product is perfect for the rural Chinese market they are clearly aiming for with their English Kickstarter page and high end phone requirements

Yes it totally makes sense for them to market a Chinese product for American Kickstarter backers. /s rural China isn't the only part of the developing world either. You're thinking in too limited of a time frame and too small of a geographic area as well as demographic, it doesn't have room for vision.

> At this point, I should point out that you aren't even arguing that this is a good product anymore.

The iPhone wasn't a good product. It was a revolutionary one with lots of flaws. The same goes for the iPad and a lot of devices that made a major impact. This one included. Whether or not this company succeeds is another matter, but I fully believe that this class of device will be part of the future.


> What makes you 100% sure that your dismissals are correct?

Nothing. I said in my first comment that I could be wrong. I'm pretty confident that this is not anything but a niche product at best, but I could be missing the use case.

> I can argue that you're ignoring problems I bring up just because it doesn't apply to you personally. Having to carry a laptop everywhere is a real pain point which increases depending on where you live. Just because it isn't a problem for you personally it doesn't mean that it's not a real problem that a lot of people face, even in the US. It's hard to understand this if you've never lived in a dense urban metro. People don't usually go straight home to their closet sized apartment. They stay out for hours before going home and usually they don't have a car.

This device doesn't solve that problem at all. Unless you assume you're going to buy two of these things, one for the office and one for home, at which point you're clearly talking about people with significant amounts of disposable cash who could solve this many other ways. A cheap desktop/laptop at home and remote desktop to work solves this for work stuff. So does OneDrive or Office 365 or Google Drive or DropBox or Box or a number of other services that you can definitely afford if you would even consider buying two of these just to avoid carrying your laptop home because you want to hang out in a bar for a few hours.

> It's like arguing headphones are bad because you can't use them without an audio device. This is just a bad argument. Both headphones and this dock augment the products that they pair with; not being an independent product doesn't make it bad.

It makes it bad when the alternative is a standalone device that solves all the same problems and delivers many extra features for little extra money.

A better analogy than regular headphones might be noise-cancelling headphones. You can buy a set of noise-cancelling headphones that operate by themselves. A hypothetical set of headphones that cost $30 less but can't be used by themselves because they rely on the phone to pick up the ambient noise would be a terrible option. It's not enough cheaper to justify the need to tether to a phone for functionality that the standalone product delivers better.

> Yet the price eventually came down and now they're a force to be reckoned with even though they still have most of the weaknesses that pundits complained about. It's still possible to buy a real laptop for a little more cash. I'm pretty sure this favors my side of the argument and not yours.

It doesn't favor the argument that this specifically is a good product. If you can pick up one for $30 in a few years, I might feel differently.

> How can you be so sure about this? Installing an app is much easier than syncing two or more devices. Besides this isn't only issue preventing sync, which again you're conveniently ignoring.

If you can install an app and use it for this, you can install an app and use it for sync. Sync isn't rocket science. You're also conveniently ignoring the other issues with this device, such as the fact that most apps don't support, e.g., resizeable and multiple windows.

> I was speaking about the long term potential of the device, and not short term, initial quarterly sales figures. Chromebook wouldn't exist if Google made its decision solely on the 1st year of sales.

I actually don't think it has much long-term potential either, because by the time this device hits a reasonable price point, chromebooks and laptops will still be close.

> And phones with installed movies and video games don't?

No moreso than laptops/chromebooks with the same videogames and movies installed. If you mostly want to watch movies and play games, you can also buy a tablet for $50 and probably be happier than you would with either of these options.

> Yes it totally makes sense for them to market a Chinese product for American Kickstarter backers. /s rural China isn't the only part of the developing world either. You're thinking in too limited of a time frame and too small of a geographic area as well as demographic, it doesn't have room for vision.

I was using your example. If you rephase it in terms of any other developing area, the same criticism applies, because there's no developing area I'm aware of using North American plugs and an English qwerty keyboard. I get that you think this product will develop into something useful over time, but I think a standalone laptop will always be right there costing barely more and delivering more value.

I think they're targeting the US audience because you've got to market something like this to people with significant disposable cash because it delivers little actual value beyond novelty.

> The iPhone wasn't a good product. It was a revolutionary one with lots of flaws. The same goes for the iPad and a lot of devices that made a major impact. This one included. Whether or not this company succeeds is another matter, but I fully believe that this class of device will be part of the future.

Could be, but I doubt it. We'll see.


> This device doesn't solve that problem at all. Unless you assume you're going to buy two of these things, one for the office and one for home, at which point you're clearly talking about people with significant amounts of disposable cash who could solve this many other ways.

It still solves a problem that exists, which is maybe why they've already met there Kickstarter goal 10 times over. People in developing nations may have different problems this would solve.

> A better analogy than regular headphones might be noise-cancelling headphones.

A new convoluted analogy isn't going to change the fact that "this isn't a viable product because it's 'useless without a phone'" is a terrible argument.

> If you can pick up one for $30 in a few years, I might feel differently.

So now you're saying it's viable but just too expensive? It's going to hit that price one day and maybe even below.

> If you can install an app and use it for this, you can install an app and use it for sync. Sync isn't rocket science.

This is definitely not true outside of techies.

> by the time this device hits a reasonable price point, chromebooks and laptops will still be close.

I think I've already pointed this out, but detractors of the Chromebook used the same reasoning as to why Chromebook would die. They were wrong.

> If you mostly want to watch movies and play games, you can also buy a tablet for $50 and probably be happier than you would with either of these options.

Since it's just a screen and keyboard, you do realize that this is a cheaper tablet right? The only reason it's not cheaper now is because only one company is aware of this device class's future and potential. Besides, I've already proven my point that people in developing nations spend money on non-life critical electronics.

> because there's no developing area I'm aware of using North American plugs and an English qwerty keyboard.

There's a country called the Philippines that meets this criteria with a population of 100 million. Even if that didn't exist, have you seen an East Asian keyboard? It's basically a western keyboard with extra ideograph (hanzi/kanji) characters on top of the letters. Repurposing this device with a different keyboard and power cable wouldn't be hard. Nitpicking unimportant details can stop people from seeing the big picture.

> I think they're targeting the US audience because you've got to market something like this to people with significant disposable cash because it delivers little actual value beyond novelty.

Yes for now, and apparently people here do see value in it.


Because sometimes you want to work on your bed and other times you want to work on the couch. At the office, sometimes it's useful to be able to work at the cafeteria or bring a laptop to a conference room to use as part of a presentation.


Clearly you don't tote around anything. (But the phone.) What if your main cpu, os, and memory were always with you? An alter cocker like me is not going to shlep a laptop on a plane. And there are as many of me as you.


That's awfully bad security hygiene. I would never plug my phone into a public laptop shell w/o assuming I was being keylogged and MITM'd.

Next we'll be using free wifi at airports w/o VPNs! Thick of the insanity.


Always when I see concepts like this I feel like it's a great idea but after few minutes I really can not think of a use-case for me.

First I would like to have a phone with x86 cpu so I could run the same software as on my desktop, without real desktop cpu it will be hard to use device like that as laptop replacement.

Secondly why would I like to carry something like that instead of normal laptop. I understand I can buy e.g. two devices one for work one for home but still why not just have a two laptops and sync stuff using cloud.

I think it's not a future, the future is folding device that could work as phone and unfolded as laptop. We are not there yet to combine everything in one device that would be useful for every use-case.


I would like a docking station that has a fast CPU and lots of RAM. When the phone is plugged in, you can use the computing power of the docking station instead of the phone CPU. And it should run windows or OSX apps.


And it would.. what? Use the display of your phone?

Otherwise you're literally describing a computer.


Sorry, forgot the 27 inch screen, external mouse, keyboard and USB Hub. In short, my phone contains the OS and my data and it can be used on small screens or multi-monitor setups.


You've described using a phone as a mass storage device.


He just described iOS/MacOS/iCloud (s%/iCloud/Dropbox, or whatever you prefer for centralized storage). If I'm going to use the phone just for data, then I might as well open that presentation from iCloud from my MacBook that's plugged into my 27" monitor and Das Keyboard (insert your kb of choice). Because that I know works. Experience tells me kludgey rigmarole like the proposed or even the Superbook just don't work as well as you hoped when you POSTed your cc number.


So, a live boot pen drive?


True. With a phone attached to it.


Those were the Sony-Ericsson business-oriented smartphones from the early 21st century onwards until the arrival & massive consumer acceptance of the much less capable iPhone, which began the demise of the Sony & Ericsson partnership in recent years. Also the Motorolas.

It's nice not having iOS or Android on your phone.

With these vintage phones and previously free manufacturer software installed on the laptop or desktop, you have always gotten the full internet wherever you had cellular service from your provider. This was even before cellular providers became ISPs, and there were no data plans yet. No free minutes either, you paid by the minute, talk, text or analog data.

The earlier smartphones communicated with the laptop using the COM port which was still ubiquitous, or for wireless used infrared which became standard on most business laptops. This was still when very few students could afford laptops, as they were priced at twice the cost for half the performance, and none were yet designed to sell for under $1000. It was dial-up and had nothing to do with your cellular provider, you also needed an ISP of which AOL was a common business choice. These early Sony-Ericssons still contained an analog modem. The Motorolas also did, which I think were the biggest of the real smart phone vendors, at more attractive prices from more carriers.

You still had direct access to analog fax machines, up until the arrival of "free minutes plans". Shortly thereafter T-Mobile & AT&T disavowed all knowledge of and support for fax capability, but it still worked for years, until their network became more digital. Real faxing was not intended to be part of the internet anyway, it was supposed to be much more secure and private than that. But that's been lost for years, you can't fax to or from a portable device to a landline without the internet any more, and a landline has the highest expectation of privacy by a wide margin.

Still, at least with Windows 98 up into Windows 8.1 you have always been able to do the portable email and browsing and the whole internet thing. Will be trying it with Windows 10 soon. Of course it's Bluetooth now or USB instead of infrared or COM port.

When the iPhone came out, besides the defects where you didn't have a forward-compatible Memory Stick or SD card socket, and it wasn't intended to bring internet access to a computer (not even a Mac), you couldn't even bring spare phone batteries. Plus you could only get the internet where there was 2G, 3G, 4G coverage, which was still spotty and not nationwide, even if it was much faster.

Be careful what you settle for.

With the Sony-Ericssons and Motorolas you got the fast broadband where available, otherwise for early iPhones most of the USA was dead to the internet. And of course for the PC or Mac the phones are bootable USB mass storage devices once you properly format the phone's Memory Sticks and install DOS, Windows, or Linux on them.

It has always made sense to some operators for the phone to be the accessory to the traditional laptop. With a pile of charged batteries you can be completely wireless and/or without other power for a long time, depending only on coverage from your own "private" cellular account for communication.

After all, IIRC that was the purpose of a "smart phone" to begin with, portable internet, with at least a small screen and keyboard to work with whenever you can't plug it into a real one.

Then some Dells came along with a SIM card socket.

For so many consumers, the arrival of the iPhone meant the beginning of portable internet capability, when it had actually been very well developed previously, especially considering the weaker performance of the underlying network & electronics at the time of development. To others, a milestone beyond which portable internet capabilities might never be as worthwhile as was previously dreamed possible.


I'm confused by this stretch goal:

$1M - Option to upgrade to 1080p HD screen (w/ additional cost)

... which would suggest that the original screen spec is actually lower than "1080p" ?

Obligatory: https://xkcd.com/732/


Re: 1080p.

We lived with 480i in our most-used display for a very long time :-)

(comment written on my aging MBP with a 700-something screen, rather than 1080/retina class display)


We also lived in caves for a long time too, I don't see people lining up for that.

LCD's are so damn cheap now there's really no excuse for anything under 1080p. I've seen chromebooks with 4K displays for $300.


Forgot to mention: once you reach a certain pixel density, you really hit the point of diminishing returns. 4K x 2K on a small laptop screen is going to look much the same to my aging eyes as 2K x 1K on that size.

Now, give me a nice 40 to 50 inch 4K on my desk, and that sounds pretty nice. I can sit back a ways, and not have to focus on something 2 feet away.


I have a 28" 4K on my desk and the picture is absolutely stunning. I'd imagine any more dense than that I'd have a hard time appreciating, but I think it matters way more in terms of where the display is relative to your eyes. For example, my monitor is usually about 12" away from my face, whereas my TV is about 7 feet. A 1080p picture looks just fine compared to a 4K picture at those distances, I never feel like I'm missing anything.


Thank you (literally LOL). Point taken :-)


In the specs says: 11.6" LCD display at 768p


As cute as this is, it's missing the core issue - a phone lacks real OS and real software. It does not, usually, come with anything on it that is available on the regular desktop/laptop.

This would take severe hacking to work around.

Either (1) a software ecosystem should get evolved around the ARM/Android-like platform (that is, the project is a bit too early), or (2) there should be a virtual machine that is rather lightweight and transparent under Android to allow the PC software to run.

Seeing that this is ARM, i don't expect the (2) to be a real option. (1) might work if you constrain yourself to open-source Linux environment and is good at coding/admin, but as soon as your work would need anything proprietary or anything from Windows things would collapse.

TL;DR: The mobile and PC tech is converging, but we are not there yet.



Sure, Android is more or less Linux, so lots of the usual stuff would work. This is pretty much what i mean by (1).


This reminds me a lot of the Palm Foleo, a device I worked on ten years ago. It was mini-laptop sized, designed to be a phone companion, but it worked over Bluetooth and actually ran its own applications, just using the BT connection for continual data sync. This one has a much better chance of actually shipping, and the advance of computing power has made it a lot more viable. Good luck.


Yeah, you basically invented the netbook a few months too early, and marketed it as an accessory when it was a full-fledged computer hardware-wise.

By the way, did the GPL code used on that ever get released, assuming the demo units counted as distribution?


I don't see the point of asking any of these questions in this fashion...


No intention to offend or accuse here, just two points that stuck with me from that time and which I've been curious about. To my knowledge only a few developer units were released and remained property of Palm, hence my caveat in asking the question.

As to the first point, I was personally excited to see a small ARM-based laptop, and dissapointed when it's capabilities and marketing as an accessory led to its denise. Not that the unclear direction of Palm's software at the time helped. It was the right call and yet disappointing.


Kind of like webtop.

http://www.geek.com/mobile/motorola-webtop-3-0-brings-ics-to...

Not sure why the idea didn't pan out. Maybe lack of apps that translated to the bigger screen.


I still have the Atrix 4G and the Moto Lapdock. Amazing tech, ahead of the time. With the current smartphones, with multiple cores and 3-4Gb RAM, this would have worked like a charm. Webtop was nice, but lacked the processing power.

This thing is cute, but Motorola may have some patents on the technology.


Can anyone comment on the likelihood of being able to create this for the amount they propose?

I have been burned by hardware devices on kickstarter, and I have heard my hardware friends say that it is much harder, and sometimes they can tell right away that they cannot deliver the product for the amount raised.

I don't know if that is true here or not. Just wondering if someone knows if this can be done.

(I know, keyboards and monitors already exist.)


From the sounds of things it's four main components:

- Keyboard - Screen - Battery - DisplayLink

They're all components that exist already, it just needs to be packaged in a nice way.

The biggest issue is how to scale this to the amount they need. As of writing this they need to make ~2600.


I'm normally pretty skeptical as well, but this is simply a previous-generation commodity display, a charging circuit, battery, a basic logic board and a usb-C port. Component cost wise, it would probably be under $50 at any scale.


Given the parts look like they're off a bargain basement chrome book just without the expensive processor and ssd, the hardware will be low quality, but they can probably hit the $100 price point.


Isn't that SSD on the ARM versions just an eMMC, so close in price to a MicroSD card.


I'd point at their part cost needing to be sub $33, but as others have said in quantity 1 we're already at $50, so likely yes.


It sounds pretty aggressive to me to too. Almost unnecessarily aggressive. I bet people who pay 99 would also pay 149.


You can get a cheap Chromebook (which, though inexpensive are actually quite nice quality wise), install crouton on the chromebook, install Lil'Debi on the phone and have an X-server connection over USB. It'd cost about the same and you'd get to have an extra usable device

The way I see it, the only way I think it can really take off (as a niche product) is if the screen and keyboard are amazing (like a Pixel) and it's ultra thin (thinner than a Mac Air). Then I'm sure there is a crowd that wants to have their whole lives on their $700 super flagship cellphone and will have this very slick interface for when they want to access it with a bit more screen and keyboard.

I didn't really read into the details, so maybe you guys are already doing this, but you could also have the whole setup work from any given computer with a keyboard and screen

If you have something like that.. you could charge a LOT more.

Very slick kickstarter btw. Wish you guys the best =)


All of those installation steps and disjoint applications make this comment sound like one of the early detractors of Dropbox commenting on its Show HN thread.


I'm curious how much removing the cpu and graphics chip from a laptop shaves off the price. Chromebooks all already near this price range, and they work as standalone devices, which is nice.

I'm picturing myself at the airport awkwardly plugging my phone into my laptop, and trying to find a good place to sit it next to me.


I don't understand why these products are always pitched as a consumer product when this is an enterprise dream come true. People are fickle and refuse to change their personal habits, but using my phone as a thin client sounds a lot more appealing than having separate laptops for work & play.


The problem I see with this is that, even if the phone is work property, it's still often used for play as well as work (because who carries around a work mobile as well as a personal).

Blackberry tried to address this problem, but I think we all can agree that they were unable to address pretty much any problem at that point.

A little OT but...

I'd very much like to see a Qubes-like OS for my phone, so I can use one VM for e.g Work, another for Banking, another for Personal, so I don't have to worry about a messed up permission system or my Banking creds being leaked by some rando gobble-all-your-info app-of-the-month.

Of course that's just a dream until battery life and ARM CPUs approach laptop performance.


> The problem I see with this is that, even if the phone is work property, it's still often used for play as well as work (because who carries around a work mobile as well as a personal).

A lot of people carry around two phones, specifically the same type of people who have two laptops.


> A lot of people

Well, I'll push back on the phrase "a lot", but point taken.


I guess it depends on your circles, but most professionals I know have multiple phones. It is not as common in tech circles I guess. Most attorneys I know have two. Ditto for finance people. If you've ever done e-discovery work you will want two devices!


I've definitely given it thought in the past but disregarded it as silly, but you might have convinced me!


I went from a compliance-heavy field where everyone received a second work phone to a laid-back, BYOD office, and I oftentimes miss the former. I didn't have to deal with a split environment, and I never had issues with contacts or messages failing to sync.


Agree 100%. Waiting for Apple to do this (for a long time now.)


The creator posted in here that they didn't want to post this on HN because it's not the target audience. Clearly it's not with so many comments about why you wouldn't use it.. but I think it's a great thing for its intended audience (especially given the price) which seems to be much more casual computer users, or maybe even moreso, people who don't have a computer but have a smart phone.


It would probably be a bit fiddly given how every phone is a little different, but it would be cooler if you could slot your phone into the case instead of having it dangle from a cable.

That said, I'm not sure there is much point to this when you could just carry around a netbook. The phone integration is almost guaranteed to be glitchy thanks to fragmentation on Android and trying to use apps outside of their expected environment.


They sell a "Universal Side Mount" as part of their "Superbook Special" bundle. That should solve the dangling from a cable issue and enable front facing camera use.


The idea of using your phone as your main computer definitely seems like it could be the future. You can hook it up to something like this, or a USB-C monitor with a keyboard attached, or to a TV via MHL with a bluetooth keyboard, or whatever.

And tablet software is close, but doesn't quite feel right. This sort of thing just needs to get popular enough that software makers respond with the needed tweaks.

The problem is path to market.

Normally power users are the early adopters. They're willing to try new stuff, to put up with bleeding edge hassles to get their needs met. But this isn't for power users, phones and mobile apps aren't powerful enough.

Somebody just needs to find a willing early adopter and it should take off. Maybe an industry like logistics, maybe somewhere in the third world. Chromebooks had a similar problem, but they found a niche in education and now have sufficient volume to push into mainstream.


This is something I think Apple should focus on. Well maybe after the car they are building.

They already control both hardware and software aspects of their devices, so compared to other companies, they are in the best position to make it so that all their devices are basically the same device, only with a different interface and form factor.

This doesn't mean they shouldn't work separately - if I'm playing a game on my computer, I still want to be able to text using my phone. But if I just arrived home and I was in the middle of a conversation, while reading an article, I want to be able to put both on my computer screen in a flick of a finger.

It looked as though as it was going to happen a few years back, when several companies tried to do something like this (Asus, Motorola) but now it looks like the idea was abandoned.


It sounds like maybe you want Apple's "Continuity" features, especially Handoff? It's not quite as simple as your scenario (you'd have to do two separate "handoffs", one for the article, and one for the conversation), but it's close.

Here's a description of them today; their OS updates this fall will also add a universal clipboard. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204681


The texting conversation would already be waiting in iMessage. The article is just a ⌘-Tab away. To me, it seems even easier than the original desire to swipe. Don't do anything, it's already waiting for you. :-)


I like the idea but the price seems to be $150, not $99. The price point seems critical. I paid $190 for an HP Stream 11 and it makes a great travelling Linux box. If the eventual price were < $80, and with the advantages of having your whole environment on your phone, then that sounds good.

I tried to get an adapter for my Samsung Note 4 would use an external HDMI monitor, but did not find much joy. If a few phone manufacturers would standardize on a docking standard so being able to walk up to a Kiosk or a docking station when visiting other companies, travelling, etc., then that would serve a real need.


I wish it could dock the phone behind the screen or something. I don't want to have my phone connected to this thing like some sort of tether through a USB cable.


+1 even a velcro strap that feels really solid. The side phone-holder attachment is a little flimsy looking.


Velcro strips that you cut to size are cheap and surprisingly useful as a way of anchoring your phone on e. g. your dashboard.


MSFT has the "phone becomes a computer" with Continuum already: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/Continuum (but you need a Lumia... :| )

Having a laptop form factor is very interesting though - it brings in a lot of questions too. Is it a dumb peripheral? What does it need access to on the phone?


It's one of the main points to Ubuntu Phones as well, convergence from phone/tablet to desktop.

Plug it in and use it as a full scale desktop experience.

It's only available on the newer models as the entire system is beta and under testing though.


Very cool, thanks.

There's definitely a marketing bridge to cross here - when Steve Jobs released the iPhone, it wasn't "your iPod as a phone!", it was "here's a magical device that does things you never imagined were possible".

I've yet to hear a good pitch for any of these systems that appeals broadly outside of tech. =/


I don't find extremely compelling arguments, but there's points to be made. Having a phone that's also your computer is convenient, so having a desktop/laptop dock for your phone that would seemlessly interface would be an interesting take. Remove the $900 work laptop and instead purchase a smartphone capable of everything you need for your business. Most employers provide smartphones already, so if you can manage the ecosystem for the company standards, you could effectively cut your costs in half for every employee.

Plus, licensing costs would also drop, having only one device rather than two. A phone that requires a license on top of the work computer is just doubling cost. A single device has a single license.

Honestly, I see how it could be useful, but the arguments aren't exactly convincing. At a personal level, I could see how a strong smartphone could be beneficial to have as a simple docking solution whether I go to work or home, plus constantly having it charged would be nice- Those lapdocks have batteries that charge the phone while it operates, same for desktop dock solutions.

All in all, I'd buy into it if I liked the ecosystem the phone offered at every level- but now you need to convince me on how the application offering is for Android/iOs/Windows/Ubuntu on likely ARM devices in terms of mobile applications, scaling up to desktop applications.


They really should have made this slightly thicker to let you store your phone in it when in use or travelling. Having a phone dangling off a short dongle all the time is incredibly inconvenient when using a laptop in most places. Forcing that tether to even use the laptop is even worse.


I like the idea of one core device to use for Mobile and desktop modes, but if you have to carry around a laptop anyway, why not just get a Chromebook that has full chrome browser and can run Android apps OR really any laptop...

I want my mobile device to have this experience when I connect a rollable or foldable screen, bluetooth foldable keyboard and mouse.


Dear Apple,

Please make a similar "accessory" for iPhones. I'd gladly pay 5x or more, and I'm probably not alone.


Give them another year or three to unify macOS and associated hardware onto ARM and you will absolutely get your wish.


They already make such an accessory: an iPad or MacBook, and the Continuity/Handoff features of the OS. At least that's my guess as to what their answer would be.

And frankly, for my use, it is just as good. Probably better because in the MacBook case I have an awesome screen and decent keyboard.


Statements like "incredibly powerful computer" describing a smart phone always ring false and bit silly to my ears. I'm not saying that phones haven't made great advances in the past years, but still that "incredibly powerful computer" is about as powerful as 10 year old PC.


Haven't PCs stopped getting more powerful quite a few years ago? The only exceptions I see is swapping spinning disk with ssd and ever-growing gaming GPUs. If you're not gaming, in a couple years you might be hard pressed to spot the difference in performance.


The past couple of years (maybe since Haswell, or 3 years) have been slower progress, but on the other hand I'd say the low hanging fruit on mobile chips have been picked too by now and the progress there is also winding down.

People have been chatting and surfing and whatnot just fine with their 200MHz Pentiums at the time, so its not that surprising that it might be bit difficult for many people to truly appreciate just the amount of power available these days. Of course Wirth's and Parkinson's laws do not help here either.

Just for fun, here is a small comparison with 9 year old CPU and 3 year old CPU: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/55?vs=837


You're actually consistent with what I had in mind. A 3 year old quad core is 2-3 times faster than a 9 year old dual core, in most of the embarrassingly parallel benchmarks. I.e. despite all the process improvements, computing power per core stagnated. Personal computers mostly remain at two cores, four accessible at a premium. Personal computers are simply fast enough and the progress is better used by moving more pieces off the motherboard onto the CPU. If someone needs more power, then he's considered to be building a workstation or a server and charged way more than for personal stuff.

I have no clue if you're right about arm progress saturating, I haven't been following that.


The resolution is a huge showstopper. I feel like the creators know this because the actual resolution isn't listed anywhere (11.6" HD display is all over the place) but 768p is at the very end of the page.

And since the panel type isn't listed, I have a feeling its going to be a cheap TN panel.


And since the panel type isn't listed, I have a feeling its going to be a cheap TN panel.

Er... it is $100. Lots of things are going to be compromised to hit that price point. I'm reminded of the various $200 laptops out there, like the HP Stream 11: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/01/review-hp-improves-it.... They have many drawbacks. But their price is incredible.

I've put a lot of $200 laptops in Department of Education programs not because they don't have drawbacks but because they're functional and still allow incredible bang for buck.


What is the advantage of this over something like a Chromebook? It seems like throwing a phone-grade CPU in it and giving it a little more capability would be more worthwhile than being completely dependent upon a tethered phone.


It's also one less device to manage connectivity on (connect to wifi, pay for data plan, etc.).


Well, if that were the primary concern then USB tethering would work just fine as a solution.


you can use it as a normal smartphone as well. This is helpfull when you're in a tight space, or standing in the train. You also have the same data on both 'devices' (quoted since its technically 1 device + periphery)


I have that regardless of whether I have this separate keyboard/monitor thing. I don't really see where it is an advantage in that scenario?


Anyone have any benchmarks of a phone CPU compared to a Chromebook CPU (Celeron or Atom I would guess?)


Don't forget ARM vs x86 program compatibility. Even with a chroot environment to run GNU/Linux distros on an Android phone, you won't have compatibility with some programs due to the architecture of the processor.


>. Any IDE built for Android can be accessed by your Superbook.

Is there any semi decent Android IDEs? I can't imagine there's a lot of people who are interested in coding on their phones.


Termux gives you a decent Linux shell, including stuff like vim, git, and Node.js


do not forget about running any linux ide in chroot. Phones with 2gb can do. phones with 4gb of RAM are good at it. google e.g. "Linux Deploy" app on playstore


Interesting, thanks for the info.


Seems grossly misleading to call it a laptop.

8 inch or so phones already exist which have a better resolution. Is there much point in having a bigger screen with lower resolution?


Yes, the keyboard.


http://www.walmart.com/c/kp/usb-otg-adapters

Honestly the resolution is the one thing stopping me from ordering a Superbook. 768p may "technically" be HD, but you can't honestly market it as "upgrades with every new phone" when the display is so far behind the phone that drives it. I realize it has a big impact on cost and battery, but for me it's simply 1080p or bust.


Isn't this essentially just a Chromebook?

Why not just buy a chromebook, share your internet connection, charge from its USB port and use the same Google Drive (or Dropbox)?


I think this is the future. One device that works everywhere. Ubuntu tried it unsuccessfully. I doubt this one will succeed either. But eventually someone will.


Ubuntu still hasn't finished it. They showed demos in alpha but their newer phones actually do it now, although the entire Ubuntu Touch program is still beta.


problem is the Ubuntu one was trash, when you plugin to display it's still just Ubuntu Touch. Cant run normal X apps, cant apt install anything.

Huge disappointment.

Waiting for something useful. But it looks like Windows continuem is following same fate, not actually really full normal windows in desktop mode. Just runs phone apps on larger display.


Apple in 2 years


http://maruos.com/ Related, you can try it if you have a Nexus 5 today.


"future proof" "768p screen".

Yeah, sure.


See the queue for the future proof shell.


I find this project quite interesting.

Do you think it could provide a good development environment?

I was thinking that with something like Eclipse che this could be useful when traveling


Assumes you have a reliable connection, no?


Awesome laptop




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