NexPhone project: A smartphone with tablet, laptop, and desktop PC docks
Tired of carrying around a phone, a laptop, and a tablet and keeping your data synchronized between all three? A startup called NexCrea wants to offer a smartphone that does it all.
The idea is that the NexPhone would work like a typical Android smartphone. But then you connect it to a docking station to use the NexPhone like a tablet, notebook, or desktop computer. All of your data is stored on the phone, which acts as the brains of the operation no matter which peripherals you’re using.
Right now the NexPhone is just a concept. NexCrea is trying to raise money to actually begin production.
You can donate to the project at Indiegogo if you want to see the NexPhone become a real device… but there’s no guarantee that will actually happen even if the company does hit its $950,000 goal.
Still, the concept certainly seems feasible. The phone would use Canonical’s Ubuntu for Android platform, so that when you connect the NexLaptop or NexMonitor dock, a full Ubuntu Linux desktop operating system would appear.
This lets you run any of the thousands of Ubuntu apps optimized to run on Android, including web browsers, office software, or even photo or video editing software.
When you hook up the NexTablet dock you’ll continue to see the Android user interface — but the device will adapt the UI to take advantage of the larger screen. You could use this sort of dock to play games, surf the web, or watch videos on a larger display.
NexCrea’s concept photos and videos show an unusual docking mechanism with docking ports on the back of the phone. Basically you just slap it on the back of the laptop or tablet docks or into a special port on the NexMonitor. It looks like it might be held in place magnetically. But I’m not sure I’d want my phone just hanging out on the back of my tablet like that.
Asus already offers a similar solution with its Transformer line of tablets and its PadFone smartphone. You can transform an Asus Transformer tablet into a notebook by attaching a keyboard dock, and you can turn a PadFone into a tablet by sliding it into a covered port in a tablet dock.
But NexCrea’s vision goes a bit further by combining a full desktop operating system with Android. Right now Asus only offers Android on its Transformers — and while Asus has Windows 8 and Windows RT models in the works, those won’t run Android at all.