I’ve gotten in the habit of treating my laptops like desktop computers much of the time in recent years. Plug in a mouse, keyboard and display and the portable computers have plenty of horsepower for most of the tasks I’d expect from a desktop. Unplug the peripherals and I can still use my computer on the go.

But laptops aren’t always designed to make great desktop replacements. So Compal designed a “Mobile Office” laptop that takes up less space when placed on your desk, while giving you easy access to extra ports.

Compal doesn’t sell products under its own name. Instead the company is an ODM (original design manufacturer) that sells its designs to clients and produces products that may be sold under different brands.

At this point it’s unclear if the Mobile Office will ever become a real product you can buy. But it did win an IF Design Award recently, which is how I became aware of the concept device.

According to the awards page, the Mobile Office has a palm rest that can fold backward so that it’s under the keyboard. This allows you to get closer to the screen when the computer is placed on a table or desk. It also allows the base of the PC to take up less space if you’re in a tight space like a car or airplane seat or if you want to use the computer as a handheld.

When the palm rest is folded back, users can also access some additional ports along the front edge, including what appear to be two USB-A ports, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. Compal says the folding design can also lead to improved performance by “enhancing thermal performance by 25%.”

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  1. I have a HP Envy X360, when in the office I fold the keyboard behind the screen, slide it under my office monitor and treat is as a smaller secondary touch display. I dock on a single USB-C cable. Extremely useful to have that small second screen around on a small desk.

  2. …Or they could put the hidden ports on the sides of the laptop and have them accessible all the time.