Lenovo’s Yoga Book line of dual-screen laptops challenge the idea of what makes a laptop computer by replacing the keyboard with a second screen (that you can also use to type).
The Gemini from GST Communications goes a bit further… or maybe not far enough.
The Chinese company has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a device that GST calls a “dual-screen laptop.” But really, it’s just two tablets designed to work with one another.
Update 8/22/2019: The Gemini Indiegogo campaign has been suspended (at least temporarily) and it’s described as “under review,” with no new contributions being accepted at this time.
Update 8/25/2019: GST Communications explained to Liliputing that the crowdfunding campaign was not actually initiated by GST, but rather by a third party using their name without permission. GST reached out to Indiegogo, which canceled the campaign due to the fraud allegation.
Update 10/01/2019: The Gemini crowdfunding campaign has resumed, although the company behind the product is now listed as “Gemini” rather than GST Communications. The GSTGetMini website is also now offline.
Our original article continues below.
Here’s what GST is promising: you buy two Windows tablets and you can use them in a variety of ways:
- Laptop mode – Pop out a kickstand on one tablet, connect a second one to the keyboard area, and use an on-screen keyboard.
- Dual-screen – Set them up side-by side and one becomes a second screen, allowing you to have content span both screens or move apps, documents, and other content between devices.
- With a keyboard – Connect a physical keyboard and get two screens and a keyboard.
- Standalone tablet – Just take one tablet with you and use it as a standalone device.
That’s the idea anyway. It’s a little unclear what GST’s “proprietary software” is that allows you to use two tablets together as a single device. But responding to comments, the company gives a little more information.
For one thing, when the two tablets are connected, CPU resources will be shared between two units to optimize performance and battery life. So a task that starts running on one tablet may theoretically move to the other… or something.
And if you were hoping to use one of these tablets as a monitor for an existing laptop, tablet, or desktop computer, you can do that… but you’ll need a USB Type-C hub, dock, or dongle with HDMI output.
Meanwhile, the company has released a few videos showing the “proprietary software” in action and… the experience doesn’t look quite as smooth as moving content around an extended desktop when using a truly dual-screen setup (like a laptop + HDMI monitor).
It’s also worth noting that this is GST’s first crowdfunding campaign, and the goal was intentionally set very low, at just $30,000. The company says it’s using crowdfunding to raise awareness rather than to raise the money necessary to manufacture their not-really-a-laptop. But I’d suggest proceeding with caution.
This is also hardly the first crowdfunding “Gemini” tech product. In 2017, Planet Computers launched the Gemini PDA handheld Android/Linux phone/laptop. And earlier this year, Taihe launched a campaign for the Gemini portable touchscreen display.
Anyway, as for the latest Gemini, the dual-screen laptop/tablet thingamajig is said to be available in several different sizes and configurations:
- 13 inch Gemini w/Core i5-8350U/8GB RAM/256GB SSD for $498
- 15 inch Gemini w/Core i5/8350U/8GB RAM/256GB SSD for $549
- 13 inch Gemini Pro w/Core i7-8550U/16GB RAM/512GB SSD for $657
- 15 inch Gemini Pro w/Core i7-8550U/16GB/512GB for $727
Note that those prices are during the crowdfunding campaign only, with limited quantities available at each price. Eventually the company says retail prices will be about twice as much.
And keep in mind, what you’re getting for that money is two tablets with identical specs… assuming the tablets ship as promised in March, 2020.
Other features are said to include USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports, headset jacks, and microSD card readers, quad speakers, dual microphones, 8MP rear and 5MP front cameras, and an aluminum body. The tablets are actively cooled (which means they’re not fanless).
GST says the tablets have a starting weight of about 1.65 pounds each, or 3.3 pounds when used together to make a “laptop.”
What the [email protected]#$ … Gemini has been reinstated, but doesn’t explain why.
I see they removed GST, but not all, still on video and some other places. How can this be?
I would stay away here. Hardware crowfunding is allays tricky. Besides, the only novelty here is the software. You could buy two regular tablets and install this software and get the same result. So, if they were looking to sell the idea, they should sell the software itself for $50 or so, and you can bring your own device (also a good way to use an older tablet as an accessory together with a newer one, for example a ~5 year old Atom tablet can be the keyboard for a Surface 4 pro or something). Selling software is orders of magnitude easier than selling hardware. Even honest projects fail all the time.
To be honest, it seems under-priced when you consider the specifications of each of the two tablets… which tweaks my suspicions… and even if it’s real, i’m not sure I like the idea of a tempered glass screens on a mobile device these days. Especially when it’s a manufacturer where replacement screens are not going to be easy to come by. If it is real, the implementation strikes me as modified clustering software with the OS running in a VM which is running on top of both pieces of hardware – and from the performance and appearance and lack of a physical connector, i’d say the communication for that is done over wireless.
All in all I’d say that, there is a good chance that this is a scam, but even if it is real, there are some serious durability and performance issues to deal with.
Nice idea in concept, but I would imagine that there are a lot of levels of cluster computing efficiency and the efficient ones aren’t easy to implement…and they probably didn’t do that here. The tablets appear to be sharing data over an exclusive wireless network, as the laggy display response in the GIFs on the crowdfunding page looks pretty comparable to what happens when I use VNC. I suppose they had to, since they wanted this to act like a computer with two monitors you can set wherever with respect to each other.
By the way, it’s pretty obvious that the tablets aren’t going to be identical, even if they do have the same RAM and CPU in each. There’s a thin one with a kickstand and a thick one without.
It would be REALLY interesting to see how all this actually works out, but I’m not dropping that much money on so many unknowns (and there’s no WAY this is going to work on any other operating systems).
Amazon should do something like this with their Fire tablets, since they seem to want people to buy a lot of them!
That’s actually a really great idea. I would personally love that.
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