Foldable smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and dual-screen accessories like LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen have blurred the lines between smartphones and tablets this year.

But what if you want to add a second screen to the phone you already have?

The castAway smartphone case offers a solution. Maybe. OK, it’s a weird one. But it could be kind of cool… if it works.

Here’s the idea — the castAway is a smartphone case with a built-in second screen for your phone. Put your phone into the case and you can view two apps side-by-side, watch a video while you surf the web, use the second screen as a keyboard or trackpad, and more.

Here’s why it’s a weird solution — castAway isn’t just a dumb case and screen powered by your phone. It’s actually a standalone, phone-sized tablet with an OP1 processor (aka the Rockchip RK3399), 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. It has stereo speakers, WiFi and Bluetooth, and front and rear cameras. And it runs Chromium OS, the open source version of Chrome OS.

When you’re using castAway’s second screen with your phone, what you’re actually doing is using two different devices with two different operating systems — they communicate with one another over WiFi via an app called MultiTask+.

It remains to be seen how well that will work in real-world settings, but the price to find out isn’t all that high — castAway cases are going for $129 and up during an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with an estimated ship date of May, 2020.

That’s about half the suggested retail price… but it still seems surprisingly low for a device with halfway decent specs and a brand new hardware and software experience — so I’d proceed with caution.

The $50,000 crowdfunding goal also seems kind of low for a product like this — but it’s hard to know how much money has already been sunk into the design.

The castAway case comes in two screen sizes: 5.8 inches and 6.3 inches, and at launch, the plan is to support Apple devices from the iPhone 6 through the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and Samsung Galaxy devices including the Galaxy S7 and later and Galaxy Note 7 and later.

via About Chromebooks


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15 replies on “castAway case turns a smartphone into a dual-screen device (It’s also a phone-sized Chrome OS tablet)”

  1. Hey, it’s the idealfuture dragonfly all over again. Actually, this is a *bit* more realistic, but still well in the “HAW HAW NO” realm of reason.

  2. This looks like a really great idea and I would love to have one. But I have been burned on 3 Kickstarter campaigns, so I am done with crowdfunding. Oddly enough, all of the Indiegogo campaigns I backed came through late, but the product was as promised. If this hits retail, I’ll buy it at “twice” the price.

  3. They’re planning to ship these in 6 months, and they don’t have a single shot of a functioning device? The whole video was just a lifestyle montage. That is just a redflag for either that they don’t understand how much time is needed to prototype and begin production, or they are lying.

    Also, why aren’t they saying anything about the possibility of using it as a standalone device? I would be far more interested in a standalone 6.3″ chrome os tablet, than a folding screen case.

  4. This has all the red flags of an ongoing crowfunding scam:
    – IGG instead of KS
    – no working prototype, only pretty renders (hence IGG)
    – impossibly short shipping time (only possible if you already have a final design and contracts for manufacturing)
    – plausible idea, beliveable specs at unbeliveable prices
    – the threat to double the price if you don’t buy NOW and plan to wait and see
    – suspiciously low crowfunding goal: $50000 means you don’t plan to do any development on this project, this is only enough to make an initial batch at a loss, no overhead for anything.
    – no clear picture of a business plan here. How do they plan on making this small batch of possibly very high cost to make devices (a few thousand units only at most), in several version and variation (screen size, iOS/Android compatibility), make it sustainalbe for themselves, pay for their R&D team to have made this and maintain support?

    This is 100% a scam. Theye jokers already made $51000 from 250 gulible people. Don’t be one of them!

    Brad, this would be indeed newsworthy if it were true, but in my opinion you should make it clear it’s a scam _before_ you put the link to the IGG site, if someone becomes excited and don’t read the article to the end s/he might miss your warning.

    1. Sorry, not super familiar with the crowdfunding scene – I recognise all the other red flags but what’s the deal with IGG vs KS? Not doubting/questioning/whatever, just professing ignorance on my part.

      1. Mol- the issue with IGG is that their rules and vetting process are very lax. For starters, KS requires that you have a working prototype for your product while IGG does not.

        1. Huh, TIL. Funnily enough I was under the impression that it was the other way around. Thanks, though!

    2. Yeah, good point — I’m not ready to make the claim that it’s an outright scam, but I do think it’s appropriate to advise caution. So I removed the above-the-fold link to the IGG and only included the one further down the page.

      I also usually throw a (crowdfunding) label into headlines on posts like these — but the headline was already getting unwieldy.

      1. Last weekend I got them to send me their pitch info. They originally were thinking they’d be shipping in February and I questioned it & a whole lot of other things.

        They could not show me a real prototype, and are thinking they’re going to get 1% of the cell market. Their docs show an expectation of ‘selling’ 50,000 units via IGG

        Every failed startup I’ve ever encountered suffered from the “Malady of 1%” – expecting they can get 1% of some huge market. In their case, they think they can get 1% of the people who both have cell phones and use multiple monitors.

        While I’d love to grab a couple of them, I’d rather do it at full price if by some miracle they deliver.

    3. Exactly. I really like this answer from the ‘engineering team’ :
      Geoffrey Cairns 7 hours ago
      The phone cases are designed specifically for each phone model. If you prefer to send me your question in your preferred language we can use google translate to assist answering.

      So we didn’t understand : there are 3 sizes (the small one being 5.8 inches, they must target avid phablet consumers) but that’s not all : each phone has its distinctive case.
      Red flags, really ? LOL

  5. Reminds me of the ESTI EYE, a case for iphones that’s a full android device, which it looks like a ton of backers never got.
    This one gives me cause to be wary from the start and not just because other campaigns didn’t go so good. The thinnest phone I know of is the Oppo r5, which is 4.8mm thick, and cost $500. By my estimates, the “prototype” here is nearly that thin, maybe 1mm thicker at most. Making something that thin hasn’t gotten that much easier since 2014, it shouldn’t be this cheap.
    Second, it looks to me like ALL screen images are simulated, even though delivery is supposedly 6 months out, so all hardware R&D should be done by this point, which means they should have something they don’t need to simulate on at all.
    Third, the video ad seems to be trying to sell me less on the technical details and abilities of the device, but how it will somehow make me a well-adjusted, outgoing, sociable, fun, happy, interesting and popular woman by using it.

  6. Interesting concept but reading on the site I suspect this is nothing more than a second “tablet” using a shared wifi connection. So its not really multitasking as much as two devices sharing the same “encypted ” connection.

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