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NexPhone concept combines a smartphone, tablet and PC in one

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October 15, 2012

The NexPhone could become a tablet, laptop or desktop

The NexPhone could become a tablet, laptop or desktop

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The number of gadgets many of us use every day has multiplied significantly over the past decade. Most people have a smartphone, a PC, and maybe even a tablet and a laptop. The NexPhone concept aims to bring all these devices together into one mobile device that can dock into a tablet, laptop or full-size monitor to fulfill all your daily computing needs. It's an interesting concept that would do away with cloud syncing and the need to copy files from device to device.

The proposed device uses Ubuntu for Android to offer a desktop experience when you want it. While you are carrying the phone around, it functions like most Android phones, but when plugged into one of the docks, it would expand and change to Ubuntu. If you plug it into the tablet dock, it stays with the mobile version of the OS, but would scale the interface for more usability.

In all, there are three docks that you would use depending on your needs. On it's own, the NexPhone would function as a smartphone. If you're after a bigger screen but want to retain mobility, the NexTablet dock would fit the bill. If you need a portable desktop experience with a trackpad and full keyboard, plug the smartphone into the NexLaptop. Finally, if you want a full-size monitor and keyboard, plug it into the NexMonitor.

The NexPhone

This is not the first device to blur the lines between the smartphone and other devices. Motorola has its Lapdocks, ASUS has its Transformer Prime line and plenty of third-party accessories bring full keyboards to various tablets.

Obviously, the NexPhone is taking this idea to another level with an Ubuntu-based desktop experience. It's clear that there is interest in merging all of our hardware together, it's just a matter of someone taking the steps necessary to make it happen.

The creators have some estimated prices for the phones and its various docks. The device and the main dock would retail for around US$499, while the NexTablet is expected to cost $149 and the NexLaptop and NexMonitor both coming it at $199. To get all of them, it would set you back a little over $1,000, which is cheaper than buying similar devices separately. Plus there's the flexibility of buying only the bits you need.

The NexPhone is seeking funding on Indiegogo to turn the device from a concept to a functioning prototype, and the creators are certainly looking for a large sum. The goal for the NexPhone is $950,000. Will it hit the goal? That, of course, remains to be seen, but the concept is certainly intriguing.

This all begs the question: do you want one device that does everything, or do you prefer having a separate device for each function?

The video below demonstrates how the NexPhone concept would work.

Source: indiegogo

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
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9 Comments

It was inevitable that this would happen sooner or later. Now what needs to happen is the same OS for all 3 situations, and the "docking" to happen wirelessly.

So you go to work, put your phone down next to your monitor, and it and your keyboard automatically come to life, running from your phone.

And of course, all those large applications would have to be written to run on Android.

You would only need one OS installed, used across many interfaces.

Thor Russell
15th October, 2012 @ 06:27 pm PDT

android doesn't seem as equipped for content creation applications.. it appears to be more directed at consumers. I think an os that can do both would be the ideal winner

Murray Smart
15th October, 2012 @ 07:45 pm PDT

I suspect that windows 8 was designed with exactly this concept in mind, a mobile interface with a desktop interface inside. It is a logical next step, copying files from one device to another is getting tiresome. Some kind of NAS will also be needed as a central data store. This would be great for families, each person would have a phone, and you would just need a couple of shared tablets/laptops/desktops.

Bob64
15th October, 2012 @ 08:02 pm PDT

I have been writing about a similar concept for a few years now, hoping some giant company would pull it all together. An Apple, MS, Samsung, etc. would be great!

Just a bit deeper into the concept and you would also have the wireless ear/mic accessory that clicks into the phone so you can use the phone like a phone or click out the ear / mic and walk and talk or Skype while at the home office with the phone in the dock for hands free talking. The hands are then left free to work the keyboard, mouse or other gesture device yet invented.

The docks would also extend the power of the phone (main brain) by adding GPUs, more memory, DVD drives, multiple monitors, etc. The sky is the limit.

Finally, the dock should allow not only NFC at very high speeds but also wireless charging. That way, no docking plugs are needed. Just set the phone on the dock pad, stand, etc. and data and power can flow as fast as required for great performance and battery life. When the phone is picked up, it has a freshly charged battery, ready for more mobile fun.

So, maybe a few more years until I get my dream system that I can add to as much as I like.

Until then, I am going to keep on writing about it, even if nobody is reading it.

TankThinker
15th October, 2012 @ 08:27 pm PDT

You should look at the ASUS Padfone. The phone docks into a tablet which can dock with a keyboard. They recently announced a monitor dock too. Oh and the Padfone 2 is announced today.

Kim Li
15th October, 2012 @ 11:15 pm PDT

About time! When is the release date, hopefully by 2013.

Cal Verdun
16th October, 2012 @ 09:30 am PDT

I'm planning on doing just this with a new Windows8 tablet and skype, wifi and cell if prices on cell drop and maybe magic jack.

This gives me full computing power along with video phone, etc at far lower monthly rates which is the real cost.

Or by an older Ipad and do the same.

jerryd
16th October, 2012 @ 09:52 am PDT

If this goes to Kickstarter, keep your money in your pockets folks.

Microsoft and others (including Apple I think) have already filed patents on a paradigm that is far superior and will probably launch next year or early 2014. It's a system that is based around a smart hub that wirelessly (at high-speed) creates a local network with many devices at the same time. At your option, you'll be able to carry the smart hub in your pocket or purse and keep it there. It will then allow one or more displays of various sizes to connect to the hub simultaneously. Your in hand device will become super thin as all of the electronics for the functionality will be in the smart hub. Optionally, you'll be able to physically latch the smart hub to the back of your smartphone-sized display. Other devices in the network might include a smart watch, full HD display, keyboard, mice, home control units, printers, another smart hub, supplemental GPUs, speakers, quarter or even eighth-size phone/displays for super-simple and convenient phoning, on and on.

The nexPhone concept would've been a winner about three years ago, but now, it's dead on the drafting board. The communications chips that will allow the smart hub concept to be realized will be released next year. No need for physical docking; the devices will wirelessly dock.

A wireless version of the NexPhone concept might have a chance, but only if it can afford the licensing fees from Microsoft and others.

kalqlate
16th October, 2012 @ 01:27 pm PDT

I can't imagine cellular bandwidth being adequate for anything other than phone apps on a 7" monitor, so these phones would have to include serious wireless bandwidth in order to be serious creative tools. Maybe they do?

Fritz Menzel
16th October, 2012 @ 04:05 pm PDT
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