Smartphones are getting more and more powerful. I’ve been playing with a Google Nexus One phone for the last few days, and thanks to its 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, it loads web pages over WiFi almost as fast as a netbook. It can also handle audio and video playback with ease, and the Google Android operating system really seems quite zippy on the phone. Of course, we’re going to start seeing laptop-style devices with similar guts soon, such as the Compaq Airlife 100 and Lenovo Skylight. But what if you could just snap your phone into a dock to turn it into a smartbook?

NAK Design has drawn up some images of a concept device that would let you do just that. The WOOGA, which stands for Work or Game, features a slot for a smartphone, complete with video game controllers on the left and right side, making it easy to treat your iPhone, Android device, or other smartphone as if it were a Gameboy or PSP. There’s also a QWERTY keyboard to make typing easier. And the WOOGA also has its own battery, although it’s not clear if that would just power the base or if it would also provide extra battery life for your phone. Since this is just a design concept for now, I’ll go out on a limb and guess it’s the latter.

The top of the unit would feature a swivel so that you could fold the display down over the keyboard and operate the gaming controls like the same way you would any other handheld video game system.

The biggest problem I see with the design is that the smartphone wouldn’t sit flush with the base. I suppose this is so that the WOOGA dock doesn’t take up too much space, and so that it could be used with several different phone models regardless of size. But it looks a little clunky.

Of course, there’s no guarantee this thing will ever see the light of day. But it’s an interesting concept.

via Eee

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5 replies on “WOOGA concept turns your phone into a netbook/game console”

  1. The netbook part of this device has already been done (or at least attempted by other companies). A never launched device was Palm’s Folio (too expensive). But one such device that did make it to market is called the Celio REDFLY and it works great with a lot of WinMo and Blackberry devices. I have a REDFLY, and for basic surfing and office apps the device is great. Each firmware and driver update seems to make the REDFLY a little better at scaling apps to the 800×480 screen. Tethering via bluetooth instead of USB makes for a nice e-book reader as well (connect phone to wall, but use battery for on Celio 8-hour+ cordless book viewing… in color!). There is no processor on the thing, so it sips power.

    In comparison, the dock and gaming controls of the WOOGA do look interesting (I’ve thought about attaching a holster for my phone to the back of the REDFLY’s screen for the same effect), but price point will play a factor with the WOOGA. A current generation REDFLY sells for $200-250 new (> $100 used), but Palm was shooting for $600 with it’s Folio. IF WOOGA makes it to market, I’m guessing it should launch cheaper than a REDFLY in order to be a success. After all, the WOOGA is basically a keyboard, while the REDFLYs and Folios of world give you a nice big screen to view.

    My guess, is that this will never make it to market. There are just too many phones out for compatibility. Those little posts would definitely block ports and buttons and a few phones. A better way to go might be dock adapters… but thing you require one for every device that attached to that thing.

    Here’s another look at a concept PDA-into-Handtop application (this one from 10 years ago: )

    1. An interesting link, and near the bottom, the answer to the SmartBook posts –
      They already had a name for a “mini notebook like device” back in ’99 –
      Jupiter Class devices.

      1. Wow, now I’m really reminiscing. Jupiter Class… I think that was Windows CE 2.11 if I’m not mistaken? I kinda miss those devices. In fact, I still have an old NEC MobilePro lurking around in storage and logged quite a few hours on old Jordana 820s and 720s back in the day. They would still be getting used if they had a browser that could browse modern sites. Pocket IE just doesn’t cut it anymore. 🙂 But there is no denying the “instant on” of “smartbooks” is very useful for a quick pickup and the jotting down of an long train of thought — one that requires more typing than comfortably provided by a phone.

  2. Interesting, , , ,
    Now lets add a power cord and a power cord lump so you can rest the combo
    on your desktop (the actual desk, not the electronic dexk). . . .
    Then add a telephone jack / adsl / cable modem to use while on your desktop. . . .
    But that takes up a lot of desk space, so lets add a wall mount. . . .

    What next?
    Oh, make it eco-friendly, lets use a hand-crank to power the ringer. . .
    and then use natural, re-cycle friendly components. . .

    Somebody already did that:

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