Casetop project aims to turn your phone into a laptop for $250 (Kickstarter)

Tired of keeping your data and apps synchronized across your phone and your PC? Livi Design is raising funds to build a device that lets you use your phone as a PC. It’s called Casetop, and the idea is that you’d dock your phone into a laptop shell to give it a full-sized keyboard and display.

Your phone also becomes the touchpad for the laptop.

Livi Design is taking to Kickstarter to raise money for the project, and hopes to deliver Casetop devices to customers in December. While a Casetop is priced at $250, early backers can reserve one for $220. But if the project doesn’t reach its ambitious goal of raising $300,000 then the whole thing will be canceled and no money will be charged.

Casetop

The Casetop is designed to work with any smartphone that supports video output and Bluetooth. That includes iPhone, BlackBerry 10, and many recent Android phones.

Right now the plan is to offer a laptop dock with an 11.1 inch, 720p display, a 56 Whr battery, stereo speakers, a USB port which you can use to charge other devices, and a 78-key keyboard.

If the team surpasses its goal, there may be plans to add 1080p displays, improve battery life, or even add touchscreens.

While the idea of a dock that turns your phone into something more isn’t entirely original (Motorola has pretty much given up on its Lapdocks, while Asus continues to offer Padfone tablet docks in select markets), Casetop is one of the first devices designed to offer cross-platform support for BlackBerry, iOS, and Android phones. It’s also one of the few to use your phone as a touchpad.

Is that enough to help this project succeed where others have failed? It’s tough to say — but since Livi Design is taking the crowd-funded approach, it should be a little easier for the developers to determine whether people actually want their product than it might have been for Motorola. Either the project will get enough money from backers to enter production, or it won’t.

via Engadget

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=701042965 Chris Chan

    This definitely seems like something I would want, especially since my laptop is 17″ and too fat to fit into a messenger bag. Would it work with a Nexus 4’s Slimport output though?

  • toronado455

    The concept is great. The execution/design is absurd. How about center the phone, use the phone’s screen as the trackpad/touchscreen, and fill in the gaps around the phone on the left and right side?

    Though few have tried, and no one has yet succeeded, someone somewhere is bound to get this concept right.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kaiyoti Paul Chen

      I didn’t like the front bar as well, but
      a.) you can’t use the phone as trackpad because quite often, MHL mirrors the screen, instead of projecting it. So your phone is still active, though there could possibly be an app that sits on top of the android UI and proxies as touchpad.

      b.) filling the gaps is a touch problem since it’s meant to be universal.

      • toronado455

        Then don’t put the phone there. Design it so the phone connects to the right side of the casetop keyboard. Give this thing a proper trackpad and make it look like a normal notebook. Then it might have a chance.

      • CyberGusa

        So your solution is to make it lopsided!? Seriously, you don’t see the problem with that?

        Besides balance, it also will get in the way of anyone using a mouse. Some of the larger phones may be too large to fit those dimensions as well.

        Besides, the whole point is for it to work with a wide range of smart phones and it needs to be able to adjust to the range of sizes and port arrangements…

        The gap for example is so there’s room to connect the phone to the system… those three ports to the left are for connecting the phone!

        Also, remember these will still be phones and mobile OS aren’t really designed to be used with touch pads!

        Besides, your solution would increase the cost of the whole thing… Though, if they would go that route a better solution than putting it on the side would be to put either a Velcro strap or adjustable padded pouch on the back of the lid with connecting cables to it but anything that needs to be adjustable isn’t going to be as ideal as a solution made for a specific phone!

      • http://www.facebook.com/kaiyoti Paul Chen

        I actually suggested to the designers to have the phone on top or the side. Top would be ideal.

      • toronado455

        Top? You mean edgewise along the top of the screen edge? That actually seems like a really good idea. That way you could see both screens simultaneously. They must have thought the weight of the phone up there would make it tippy. But I don’t really see the problem. I think that is an excellent idea. They should have listened to you. They blew it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jean-Luc-Aufranc/100000690503162 Jean-Luc Aufranc

    Nice concept, but the price is more expensive than many of the devices it’s made for, so it will probably be a tough sell.

    • Robert Schaefer

      No phone cost $200, it’s subsidized. You pay more than the retail cost of the phone in the end. I bought my S3 for full retail price, $400.00.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jean-Luc-Aufranc/100000690503162 Jean-Luc Aufranc

        It’s actually pretty easy to find decent Android phones (dual core/quad core) for $150 to $250 without subsidies. Not sure about the US market however.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kaiyoti Paul Chen

      I think you’re misunderstanding the purpose. The idea is to eliminate the need for a laptop. We’re seeing multiple devices now that can boot multiple OS and android sticks that can be mounted to hdmi displays. So instead of buying a new 400 (or 199 contract phone) AND 300+ dollar laptop every 1 or 2 years to upgrade. You are merging these devices together. You’re minimizing the cost to upgrade multiple devices. It’s just like your monitor and keyboard for your computer. You don’t upgrade your peripherals each time you upgrade your core system. Imagine each time you buy a new computer you have to buy a new monitor, new keyboard, new mouse, new speakers… etc. It would be costly. Phones and headless ARM devices are becoming more and more powerful at tiny form factors, this is where casetop will assist.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jean-Luc-Aufranc/100000690503162 Jean-Luc Aufranc

        OK. I admit in this use case it’s worth it, since it will be use be several people, and have a useful life for several phones for each member of the family.

  • rico

    You can still buy a discontinued Motorola Lapdock for less than $100

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/104684441318752696089/about/p/pub Lokifish Marz

      Which only works with a very limited number of phones. Casetop gives you those features with a ton of phones.

  • EB

    Seems like I can already do this with my Blackberry Playbook and Blackberry 9930, via Bluetooth.

    • Edward McCarty

      The Playbook OS has a really nice integration option with other Blackberry devices, and it’s honestly more cost effective at this point in time to take that route. It’s already been explained in previous posts why that’s not practical for ANY average user. Plus, that’s still two separate devices, which is just integration instead of true physical convergence.
      But to each his own. The built-in messaging integration on a Playbook really does make me jealous of Blackberry owners; I wish I didn’t have to use separate apps on Android…

  • yash kulkarni

    what happened to clamcase’s clambook is it dead or alive… i am still awaiting…

  • Edward McCarty

    I hate to post on a dead page, but the burning issue persists: What happened to this project?

    I know that, in a video interview with XDA, Livi Designs stated that the project would continue regardless of the success with Kickstarter. However, the Livi Designs website hasn’t seen much action since then (at least, that I’ve been able to notice).

    I’d really hate to see this project flop, but that’s just how it goes sometimes…
    Is there anything to be heard from Living Designs that can’t be found by the average consumer? I’m sure even a little tidbit of info would be good for the community in the long run.