Today’s smartphones and tablets are incredibly powerful; much more than many people realize. They are capable of running productivity apps like Microsoft’s Office suite of apps or high-demanding games that would have been impossible to run even on desktop computers a few years back.
However, these devices can’t be fully utilized due to their size and touch input, which isn’t the best possible way to take advantage of their capabilities. This is why companies tried to offer alternative routes to bypass this problem, even though this has been unsuccessful so far.
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. Even though this idea seemed great, it lacked functionality once the product reached its customers. More recently, Microsoft has introduced its Continuum technology for connecting an external monitor and adding a keyboard and mouse to get a PC-like experience out of a Windows Phone device.
Jumping to $159 will get you the notebook in blue or gold, as well as a universal smartphone mount for the screen-edge and a wall charger.
A U.S.-based startup Andromium made the first attempt of making a fully-functioning phone-based workstation just two years ago. Compatible with MHL-supported phones, it worked similarly to Microsoft’s Continuum. However, this solution wasn’t so user-friendly since it involved a number of cables, which is why this attempt failed.
For its second attempt, Andromium prepared a surprise. Instead of using peripherals and cables, the company created a laptop shell that connects to an Android phone using a single USB cable. All you need to do is to connect the phone to the laptop called Superbook, and you will instantly receive a desktop-like experience with millions of Google Play Store apps.
The Superbook is actually a “dumb terminal”, which means that it doesn’t need a processor, but it needs a keyboard, battery, trackpad, and display. It can run for 8 hours on a single charge, and it will pack an 11.6-inch LCD display with 1,366 x 768 resolution. However, these components will likely be upgraded due to the project’s massive success.
The Superbook is currently a Kickstarter campaign. Close to 5,000 backers pledged more than $700,000 in just a couple of days. There are 26 days to go, so we can only imagine how much money this project will rightfully receive. The best of all is that the Superbook can be yours for only $99, at least at this moment.
You also must be wondering if you need to use a flagship Android device. Even though this definitely helps, you don’t have to be using the latest and the most expensive phone. Your phone needs to support USB-OTG, and needs to be running Android 5.0 or newer. If you want a smooth performance, you should count on 1.5GB of RAM, a dual-core processor and 25MB of free space.
Head over to the Superbook’s Kickstarter page, where you can learn in detail about how this notebook works. There are three weeks left until the campaign ends, so make sure to get your Superbook at the lowest possible price.
UPDATE: 16,732 backers pledged $2,952,508 to help bring this project to life.