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Universal dock can turn powerful smartphones into fully functional laptops

A Kickstarter project is aiming to turn any smartphones into functional laptops, thus, providing more flexibility for mobile users who think that their handsets are ready to replace their desktops.

Livi Design is calling their all-in-one solution to smartphone docking the Casetop, and it’s essentially a display attached to a keyboard.  The Casetop concept is nothing new as OEMs across the mobile tech sphere have already come up with their own docking solutions.  However, the problem is that smartphones, though powerful enough to run a stripped down desktop OS and some applications, have largely been left out of the ‘convertible’ market.

Many tablet makers have some sort of docking (i.e. keyboard add-on) solution for their respective devices.  A smartphone’s screen real estate, however, is sometime too small for work and play—or multitasking in general, and so there’s little demand for a docking keyboard add-on for these devices. 

Casetop is seeking to provide a viable solution for those that want to push the limits of their smartphones.  The 11.1-inch 720p display along with its 78-key keyboard make the Casetop seems like it may be able to accommodate the needs of ultra-mobile users.  

Technical specs:

  • 11.1 Inch 720p HD LED Backlit LCD Screen (Stretch Goal for 1080p)
  • 56 Watt Hour Battery Pack (Est. Equivalent of a 6 Cell Laptop pack)
  • Full size 78-key keyboard (Island-style, think Sony, Apple, IBM)
  • 2x 1 Watt High Fidelity Speakers
  • 1x Standard HDMI Input
  • 1x MHL Video Input, Power Output. Dual mode Micro USB.
  • 1x 3.5mm Audio Output
  • 1x Full-size 'Always Powered' USB for charging other products
  • Thickness: 0.8 inches closed, bottom is 0.375 inches thick.

Again, the concept is nothing mind-blowing, but there are some additional features that may make the Casetop a future hit.  For instance, the Casetop is somewhat universal, meaning people will be able to dock devices of different brands, OS and sizes.  Additionally, once the handset is docked, the smartphone’s touchscreen becomes a touchpad.

Canonical will officially release Ubuntu for smartphones later this year, and the Casetop is definitely something that people will be attracted if the project ever gets to the finish line.  Kickstarter backer info and other details can be found here.

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