Computers

Superbook gives Android smartphones a laptop form factor

Superbook gives Android smartp...
The Superbook leverages the processing power of modern smartphones
The Superbook leverages the processing power of modern smartphones
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The system is compatible with a wide range of devices
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The system is compatible with a wide range of devices
The Smartbook leverages the power of a smartphone
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The Smartbook leverages the power of a smartphone
Both USB-C and MicroUSB conncetions are compatible
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Both USB-C and MicroUSB conncetions are compatible
Pledging more money on Kickstarter gives you the option of blue
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Pledging more money on Kickstarter gives you the option of blue
The smartphone adapter lets you attach your phone to the side of the laptop
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The smartphone adapter lets you attach your phone to the side of the laptop
The basic Superbook pack on Kickstarter
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The basic Superbook pack on Kickstarter
The keyboard has Android function keys
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The keyboard has Android function keys
The system is compatible with the full suite of office applications
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The system is compatible with the full suite of office applications
The Superbook leverages the processing power of modern smartphones
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The Superbook leverages the processing power of modern smartphones
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Today's smartphones are incredibly powerful, with the ability to run productivity apps and games that would have been impossible even on full-blown desktop computers not so long ago. The problem is, the size and touch input of their displays isn't always the best way to take advantage of all that power under the hood. Andromium's new Superbook is designed to change that, giving an Android smartphone an 11.6-inch screen, full-size keyboard and trackpad.

Andromium isn't the first company to attempt to leverage the power of a smartphone to provide the processing grunt of a laptop. In 2011, Motorola introduced its Atrix 4G smartphone, which could be used as the engine for a laptop PC through the use of an external dock. More recently, a California-based startup unveiled system for giving Windows 10 devices a laptop form-factor. A successful crowdfunding campaign for Nexdock was concluded earlier this year, but it's yet to go on sale.

Andromium itself made its first attempt at a fully-functioning phone-based workstation in 2014. Plugged into an MHL-compatible phone, it gave users the ability to plug in an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. Although it had potential, backers apparently weren't keen on a connecting various peripherals via a tangle of USB and HDMI cables, and the Andromium Dock never reached its funding goals.

For it's second attempt, Andromium has ditched the various peripherals and cables and packed everything into a 2-lb (900-g) laptop shell that connects to an Android smartphone via a single USB cable. The Superbook "laptop" packs an 11.6 inch LCD display with 1,366 x 768 resolution, full-size keyboard and built in trackpad.

The system is compatible with the full suite of office applications
The system is compatible with the full suite of office applications

Although it helps, you don't need to be running the latest flagship phones to use the Superbook. Provided the phone supports USB-OTG, is running Android 5.0 (or newer) and packs 1.5 GB of RAM, a dual-core processor and 25 MB of free space, you can plug in using a USB-C or MicroUSB cable.

There's a built in battery, which, on top of charging a connected phone, allows for over eight hours of work. The Andromium OS app enables desktop OS-like features, including mouse cursor, keyboard shortcuts, full-screen operation of Play Store apps, and full compatibility with the Microsoft Office suite. The company also points out that every time you upgrade your smartphone, you're also updating your computer.

So far, the project has raised more than US$700,100 on Kickstarter, comfortably outdoing the initial $50,000 goal with 26 days remaining. The most basic Superbook pack, which includes a gold laptop, a USB-OTG cable and wall adapter, is at the $99 pledge level, but jumping to $159 will get you a Superbook in blue or gold, a universal smartphone mount for the screen-edge and a wall charger. If everything goes to plan, shipping should start in February 2017.

The company's video pitch can be viewed below.

Source: Andromium

The Superbook: Turn your smartphone into a laptop for $99

View gallery - 9 images
3 comments
Paul Anthony
This is a wonderful idea, and I'd like to see how much the power adapter adds to that two pounds. Also I'm not convinced the usb cable allows for speeds that will satisfy lag. Can you hook up a mouse? Is there a dock available for my s5? Does it have an audio jack, mic, camera of its own or do you somehow use the phones while you are using this? What resolution is the screen? Is there storage on this device?
Knut
Simple question: I have an watch that runs Android 4.4, and this sucks because it is excellent to receive calls on, emails and SMS - but the screen is too small to make a call, send an SMS or email. It has 32GB of memory on an SD card so my iTunes directory is just copied. If I can use this with my MacBook, Apple has a future, if the device replace the MacBook - sell your Apple shares. Then I can keep my emails on my wrist... well, my Mac has 3TB now, but memory comes cheap.
VedetteAecus
Paul--check out the Kickstarter page.
This is what the Motorola family of Lapdocks should have been--instead of being restricted to a few phone models, the Superbook can connect via USB to almost any current or future Android phone (including your S5). There isn't a dock, but there is a gadget to attach the phone to the side of the screen. This is a "dumb terminal"--screen, keyboard and battery. It relies on your phone for the "brains" and audio. The screen is 1366 x 768. No storage. The Superbook will also work with Android, Ubuntu and Windows stick PCs.