A California-based startup is seeking crowdfunding via Indiegogo for NexDock, a budget device that increases the productivity of smartphones and tablets by adding a Bluetooth keyboard, a capable battery and a 14-inch screen.
Bluetooth keyboards may help us become more productive on our portable electronics while we're on the go, but impractically-sized screens and short battery lives can make you regret not bringing a laptop along. The NexDock has been developed as a budget solution to this problem that adds not just a keyboard, but also a battery, a 14-inch screen and extra connectivity options to your portable electronics.
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The device works best in conjunction with the latest Windows 10 mobile devices (such as the Lumia 950) as it can take advantage of the new Continuum feature allowing smartphones and tablets to switch between touch and desktop modes. However, iPhone and Android users can still make use of the mini HDMI port or wireless adapter for a substantial screen size and productivity upgrade.
Reportedly at the working prototype stage, the NexDock measures 351 x 233 x 20 mm (13.8 x 9.2 x 0.79 in) and weighs in at 1,490 g (3.28 lb), most of which is taken up by a generously sized 10,000 mAh battery. The display is a (not touch-sensitive) 1,366 by 768 pixels 14.1-inch TN panel and the device also packs in two USB ports, a microSD slot and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Other than potentially boosting mobile productivity, the NexDock could also serve as a budget option to make PC sticks or a Raspberry Pi into a fully-fledged computer, as a secondary portable monitor for your laptop, or to turn an iPhone into a game controller for AirPlay-enabled, dual-screen games.
The long-term vision for the company is to build high-end, swappable mini-computers that connect to a device via a single USB-C port. Separating the components that tend to need frequent updates (like processor, memory and operating system) from the ones that don't (display, battery and keyboard) should reduce the cost of an upgrade and, the company hopes, lead to a shift in behavior where consumers would carry around their own portable mini PCs that can connect to any third-party screen.
Currently raising production funds on Indiegogo, pledges start at US$99. Only a couple of days into the crowdfunding campaign as of writing, the startup is making good progress toward its $300,000 funding goal, with project leader Emre Kosmaz suggesting that possible stretch goals could include upgrading one USB port to USB-C and switching to a higher-resolution display. If the campaign is successful and all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in June.
You can watch the crowdfunding pitch in the video below.