See the video above? That’s Ubuntu convergence in action on what’s being billed as ‘the world’s most affordable laptop’.
Except isn’t a laptop at all. It’s the NexDock, which is crowdfunding a smooth $300,000 to pay for its first major production run.
The device is, for all intents, a portable 14.1-inch monitor, albeit one powered by an internal 10000mAh battery. The keyboard and trackpad you see built-in to the clamshell case connects to a “brain” device (in this case a Nexus 4 running Ubuntu Touch) over Bluetooth. There are no speakers, however.
The dock ably turns any modern smart phone or tablet into a laptop style device but has been largely pitched as a companion for Microsoft’s ‘Continuum’ feature on select Windows smartphones.
But as the NexDock is simply a ‘dumb’ HDMI screen that mirrors/extends whatever is connected to it, it can work with pretty much anything else: Android, Ubuntu, Chromecast, Chromebit, Amazon Fire, Sailfish OS, and so on.
The only real effort required (skipped over in the video above) is pairing the NexDock’s integrated keyboard and trackpad with your handset via Bluetooth.
As the NexDock has passed its crowd-funding goal of $300,000 with 2 days to spare it’s going to be a real product that will go on sale from $119 later this year. The team behind it have an ambitious stretch goal of $1 million which will give the dock a better quality display, so if you still want in you can.
Early reviews of the hardware aren’t hugely flattering, with the low-res screen being singled out.
Mark Hachman of PCWorld had a hands-on with the device (a novelty for a crowd-funding project, I know). While he finds the concept intriguing he ultimately concludes that: “only someone very forgiving will be pleased with the final build: The 1366×768 TN screen is mediocre, and the keyboard is mushy.”
Sounds like my first Chromebook ;)
But, if you fancy using your Ubuntu phone as a laptop, or your Android tablet as a laptop, or heck, even your ThinkPad laptop as a laptop, check out the campaign in full detail on IndieGoGo via the link below.