Second monitors can be very useful for those who need a bit more screen real estate, such as when switching regularly between programs. Options are limited for mobile workers, but Able-HD is due to begin a Kickstarter campaign within the next week to raise funds for a new version of its portable monitor. The company claims that the Able-HD Plus will be the world's slimmest monitor, and will pack a 1080p HD display.
The original Able-HD monitor raised almost US$100,000 last year via a Kickstarter campaign that had originally targeted just $5,000, and that subsequently featured in Kickstarter's top 50 most successful campaigns of the year. The monitor itself was lightweight, weighing less than an iPad, and at 17 inches, fit easily into a bag.
The Able-HD Plus builds upon the success of the original device. Users can choose between 15- or 17-in models, and benefit from a stronger build, an enclosed detachable adapter board that doubles as a screen stand, a better display, and rubberized edges for protection. The screen itself is thinner than an iPhone 5 at just 7.5 mm (0.3 in) and weighs 750 g (26.5 oz), with the adapter board weighing in at 400 g (14 oz). HDMI, VGA and DVA video ports are provided, as well as audio in/out ports.
Able-HD explained to Gizmag that the team was able to make the monitor so lightweight and thin by separating the screen and the adapter board. Users who don't want to carry an adapter board around can buy a second one to leave at their place of work.
According to Able-HD, the original monitor was necessarily fragile to minimize construction costs, but the Able-HD Plus is sturdier. It features a new thermoplastic acrylic screen that is three times stronger than glass, and is provided with a synthetic polymer casing for both the monitor and adapter board.
“We knew we had to make the system stronger,” says Nell Harton, founder and CEO of Able-HD. “But we took the opportunity to rethink the entire system design, and wound up making some changes that are both innovative and highly functional.”
Although the Able-HD Plus isn't due to begin shipping to customers until later this year, the company told Gizmag that it is already planning the next version. "We want to be the pioneers in the portable monitor industry," a spokesperson said. "In fact, we already have blueprints for the third version, which should be lighter, stronger and might even come with wireless capabilities."
On the question of whether any other types of products are in the offing, the response was more measured. "Yes and no. We will still focus on what we call portable display solutions."
The Able-HD Pro will be available to individuals who pledge $139 and upwards on Kickstarter, assuming the funding goal is met. There are plans to make it available commercially through distributors, with deals for Japan and Germany already in place.