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Android Cellphones Displays Handhelds Input Devices

Universal Android Laptop Dock: Microsoft Nightmare, Or Toy? 262

ozmanjusri writes with this story from PC World: "A company that makes keyboard docks has announced a laptop-like peripheral that uses smartphones for processing and storage. Since many Android and Apple phones have multi-core processors powerful enough to deliver laptop-level performance, they only lack usable screens and keyboards to be productive for most office work. ClamCase believes their 13.3-inch 1,280 x 720 ClamBook with keyboard, multi-touch touchpad, and dedicated Android keys will make up for the lack, and turn smartphones into fully-functional laptops. A device like the ClamBook could be a real game-changer for the computer industry. If it succeeds, peripheral makers could build docks which would allow any monitor, keyboard, mouse and storage to be powered by any Android phone. It's a combination which would make BYOD offices very tempting for the corporations who are the Windows/Office combination's remaining cash-cow." I only wish the company would license the idea as well to established makers, so otherwise conventional laptops could gain the ability to easily become advanced phone screens, too.
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Universal Android Laptop Dock: Microsoft Nightmare, Or Toy?

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  • by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @05:26AM (#40281005)

    they only lack

    No, there's much more missing than just the large screen and keyboard: Office applications, for one. A web browser is not enough.

    And as we've just seen in the /. stories discussing Windows 8, a mobile UI is NOT a good idea for a laptop/desktop.

  • by ignavus ( 213578 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:09AM (#40281239)

    No, there's much more missing than just the large screen and keyboard: Office applications, for one. A web browser is not enough.

    My Android tablet - which has its own laptop-style keyboard (it's an Asus Transformer) - comes with an office suite - Polaris.

    This is what the netbook should have been - small, lightweight, keyboard ... and Android. The Transformer is all that. Hope they keep making it - or some other vendor picks up the idea.

  • by otuz ( 85014 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:09AM (#40281241) Homepage

    Why would a single hardware provider be worse than a single software provider? The latter was never an issue for most companies. If anything, it's better for them if there is just party to support for both hardware and software if something goes wrong. You know, most companies aren't hackerspaces, where every user spends all their time tinkering various devices just for the sake of tinkering.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:38AM (#40281369) Homepage

    The steam engine was no game changer in itself, first there had to be machines that the steam engine could power like spinning machines and mechanical weaving looms. And it took centuries for the steam engine to mature, given the time from the early attempts (Denis Papin 1690), first patents (Thomas Savery 1698) over the all purpose engines (Thomas Newcomen 1712), the separate condenser (James Watt 1769), the tubular boiler (George Stephenson 1829) and the composite steam engine (Anatole Mallet 1874).

    Which of those engines would be the game changer you are referring to?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @06:42AM (#40281399)

    What a fucking stupid idea - the processor + storage are the CHEAP part of the phone. Now instead of having a phone + a laptop, you wind up with a phone + a lobotomized laptop that doesn't work without the phone, at a cost that's close to that of the complete set...

  • by EasyTarget ( 43516 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:26AM (#40281591) Journal

    "That's way too fiddly for most though"

    My phone came with a docking stand with a HDMI out connector on the back, seems straightforward enough.

    "requires you have an HDMI capable screen where you want to set down and work, meaning for most applications it is unfeasible outside of the home"

    I look at the back of my monitor @work.
    HDMI socket
    Then I look at the back of my colleagues Monitors (not all the same make/model, but all under 3 years old).
    HDMI sockets

    HDMI is now so ubiquitous that that argument does not hold water.

  • by EasyTarget ( 43516 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:11AM (#40281861) Journal

    Same criticism was levelled at IDE, PCI and USB, hell even at VHS..

    Yet their ubiquity means they were used extensively for years, while 'superior' alternatives have come and gone and are almost forgotten now. It takes a real change of technology to obsolete them (like DVD did for VHS, or SATA for IDE).

    HDMI is simple, convenient, bundled into most production chipsets and works well for normal folks, it will be around for ages, deal with it.

  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:16AM (#40281899) Homepage

    for the 21st century.

    The problem is, two different sets of interface devices demand two different interfaces.

    If one could re-work UI elements via theming so that the system would morph from smart phone to desktop interface and back (throwing in an intermediate Tablet size would be a great bonus) this sort of thing might work.

    I've always been faintly surprised Apple hasn't had an option where an iPod could be slotted into a MacBook and used to store the user's home directory (as well as backing it up on the hard drive --- then determine which to boot based on the currently inserted iPod).


  • by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:44AM (#40282137) Homepage Journal

    The reason no-one has yet bothered to port decent office apps to Android is the lack of a keyboard and decent display. If these things catch on (and, provided it was enough cheaper than an Asus Transformer, I'd certainly buy one), then the apps will come.

    The first computer I worked on, an ICL 1902 [], had 8K 32-bit words of core storage, which is to say the equivalent of 32Kb of RAM. It ran at about quarter of a million instructions per second. It supported 18 simultaneous users on teletypes (proper teletypes, with paper rolls, not these new fangled 'glass teletype' things). Later on in life, I was responsible for one single Intel 80486 []

    box (66 million instructions per second, and if I recall correctly about 64Mb of RAM) running UNIX System V.4, which supported a typing pool of thirty typists all doing word-processing on dumb terminals, and five accountants mostly using spreadsheets also on dumb terminals.

    My HTC One X [] runs at 6 Billion instructions per second. OK, they're RISC instructions so you can maybe half that to get a comparable number, but even so... It has 2Gb of RAM. It is five orders of magnitude faster than that ICL 1902, two orders of magnitude faster the 486. The idea that the phone in your pocket isn't a sufficiently powerful computer to support one user doing ordinary office tasks is simply silly. What's been lacking up to now is a convenient user interface for office tasks. Devices like this solve that problem.

    Build it, and they will come.

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:00PM (#40284541)

    No, he works. You play at home. My current Thinkpad (X200s bought at the end of '10) only has VGA out. It has DisplayPort on the dock but not on the unit. Because they know what their customers actually have. And you go somewhere and need to plug up to a projector you will get handed a cable with a VGA connector on the end. The projector might have been replaced in the last year or two (it could have failed or something) and now support a digital input but when the conference room was built a VGA cable was run through the wall/ceiling from the projector to a wall jack near where you are going to present from.

    In other words VGA is going to stick around until all those locations undergo a major remodel because HDMI isn't enough better to spend money on a crew to come in and add a second cable + HDMI booster + jack.

BLISS is ignorance.