While the future of a single-device ecosystem has been long promised by futurologists (most recently Microsoft with Continuum), a new device called NexDock may beat them all to the punch.
NexDock, from little-known company Nex Computer, looks just like a 14-inch laptop on the surface, but it’s actually less than that. Inside you won’t find any of the guts that would usually constitute a PC; instead it’s just a screen, Bluetooth keyboard and battery according to the statement the company sent out.
All the processing power and storage will come courtesy of a connection to any Android, iOS or Windows phone or even a Raspberry Pi or PC stick. It even works with Continuum if you have a Windows device that supports it.
Aside from the productivity gains you should be getting from a bigger screen and full keyboard, other features promised are second screen functionality for other PCs as well as using your phone as a controller for a game while the NexDock is the screen.
Nex Computer has claimed that the NexDock is already complete and functioning, but they’re crowdfunding through an Indiegogo campaign to “meet a minimum order quantity for mass production”.
If you want to get your hands on one, the cheapest Early Bird deal was for $79 (R1 250) which has since sold out. You can still pick one up for $99 (R1 566), but those too are limited to 750 units. If you miss that, your last chance to get one through the campaign will cost you $119 (R1 883). Delivery is estimated to be June of this year with shipping to anywhere in the world.
We’re not entirely sure where we stand on the NexDock. It claims to be cheaper than a dedicated laptop, but a cheap device powering it is going to lead to frustration due to the comparative lack of performance of low-end hardware.
If you’re worried about portability, there are 2-in-1s that weigh less than a bag of sugar that could do a better job than any phone-powered NexDock setup.
Where this will shine, we think, is in its versatility. If you’re someone whose life is on their phone and you’ve often wished you could use a keyboard, mouse and screen with it, this may be for you. Also, in the future when your phone becomes the only device you need – an near-inevitability given the ever-increasing power and performance they offer – you could be using it with a NexDock.