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Universal laptop shell extends phones, mini-PCs, and SBCs

Mar 28, 2016 — by Eric Brown 4,658 views

On Indieogogo, a $119 “dumb” battery-powered “NexDock” laptop offers a 14.1-inch display and a BT keyboard to extend a phone, mini-PC, or Raspberry Pi SBC.

The NexDock laptop offers a big-screen, mouse and keyboard environment for Android, iOS, and Windows 10 mobile devices, stick computers, and mini-PCs. Silicon Valley startup NexDock also singles out the Raspberry Pi, including the Pi 3, as being compatible with the device, although we imagine just about any HDMI-enabled SBC would work as well.



NexDock prototype (left) and planned future variations
(click images to enlarge)

The NexDock is aimed primarily at Windows 10 phones, tablets, and mini-PCs that can exploit Microsoft’s new Continuum feature, which lets you plug in a Windows Phone to a monitor, and use a keyboard and mouse in a scalable, PC-like interface.

NexDock also hints that it can — or will — be capable of implementing Ubuntu’s somewhat similar convergence feature. Convergence will arrive on the first official Ubuntu tablet, BQ’s Aquaris M10, which today became available for pre-order starting at 250 Euros ($280). “Imagine a computer that one day you can use as Chromebook, and the next day as an Ubuntu developer laptop,” says the NexDock Indiegogo page.

— ADVERTISEMENT —


With 20 days left, NexDock has already surpassed 77 percent of its fixed-funding campaign goal on Indiegogo for its eponymously named laptop shell. The $79 and $99 early bird specials are gone, but there are still a few $119 packages before the campaign jumps to a $129 price, which is $20 off retail, or $154 with shipping. The product is expected to ship in June.



NexDock with Android
(click image to enlarge)

The NexDock provides a non-touch, 14.1-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel TN screen with 16:9 display ratio, a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled full-size keyboard and touchpad, and a 10000-mAh battery. The device further integrates a mini-HDMI port, dual USB ports, a microSD slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and dual speakers. Stretch goals, which seem unlikely to be achieved, call for a USB Type-C port ($500,000) and a higher resolution display ($1,000,000).


NexDock with Raspberry Pi
(click image to enlarge)

The NexDock not only provides a larger, mousable display for mobile devices and mini-PCs, but also acts as a charging and speaker dock. You can use it as a secondary display for an existing laptop, or add a wireless display adapter and use an Android phone to watch video on the 14.1-inch screen. You can also connect directly to any MHL-enabled Android device, says NexDock. The device supports Apple Airplay, allowing you to use the iPhone as a game controller.

As SlashGear notes, the 351 x 233 x 20mm device is awfully thick and heavy (1.4kg; 3.3lbs) for a laptop that lacks a computer, storage, or extensive ports, and the 1366 x 768 resolution may be disappointing for those with the latest powerhouse smartphones. You can also hack together your own PC-like environment for less than this, although typically without the convenience of an integrated laptop form factor.

Eventually, NexDock plans to offer a variety of alternative display and keyboard docking options.




NexDock on YouTube

 
Further information

The NexDock is available on Indiegogo for another 20 days for $119 (limited early bird) or $129, as well as in discounted volume packages. Shipping, which should start in June, is approximately $25 extra in Europe and the U.S. Retail pricing is expected to start at $149. More information may be found on the NexDock Indiegogo page.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

2 responses to “Universal laptop shell extends phones, mini-PCs, and SBCs”

  1. Mats Svensson says:

    Great for people who are fed up with the puny UHD-screen on their phone, and want s the full HD-ready experience.

  2. Ray Scarbrough says:

    Please, send me updates !! …It needs a higher resolution screen !

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