Supercharge your smartphone with the Superbook

by Haadi Bakar
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Let’s be honest. Some of you are reluctant to upgrade your laptop because the new ones are way overpriced.

Unlike smartphones which can be easily replaced every year or two, laptop computers are huge investments, especially if you want one that lasts for several years.

Smartphones have also gotten more powerful over time. There is a good chance that your phone has more processing power than a computer built in the 1990s.

Their extreme portability also makes them far more convenient than laptop computers for email and browsing the web on the go.

But smartphones don’t have huge displays or full-sized keyboards, so you’d still need a laptop in some cases for when you need to get busy with spreadsheets or word processing.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the best of both worlds without coughing up your savings for a brand new laptop?

This is exactly what the brilliant minds at Andromium Inc have been cooking up over at Kickstarter. The startup has developed a plug-and-play device that turns your Android smartphone into a laptop, and it only costs US$99!

The Superbook has raised over US$2.1 million from 13,000 backers at Kickstarter as of this writing.

The Superbook is essentially an empty clamshell that looks like a slim laptop without storage or processor components inside. Image courtesy of Kickstarter.

It’s a pretty innovative product: an empty clamshell that looks like a slim laptop without storage or processor components inside. You simply plug your Android smartphone via a USB cable and your phone basically powers the SuperBook.

Weighing at just under 1kg, the device comes with an 11.6-inch LCD display (with a resolution of 1366×768, pretty decent for this size), a full-sized keyboard and a roomy multi-touch trackpad.

By connecting your smartphone to the Su- perbook (via the startup’s Andromium app), you have direct access to your files and apps on your phone, saving you the trouble of syncing your data through multiple devices.

The fact that it is priced at under US$100 makes the Superbook an easy buy for folks who do not have high disposable income, or somebody who just want this over an underpowered netbook.

This isn’t the ultimate laptop PC, and it’s not intended to be one. The Superbook coupled with your smartphone should offer enough power for the basic tasks you really need such as word processing and email.

The Superbook is as powerful as your smartphone can be, so if you want buttery smooth performance, your phone better be able to handle it.

What’s also cool is that as it works with any Android phone, you technically upgrade the Superbook when you get a new phone!

The Superbook also charges your phone when you hook it up, so it doubles as a powerbank as you use it. Battery life on this device will get you going for a good eight hours.

There isn’t anything like this in the PC market today, although Microsoft had already pulled this off last year with Windows Continuum.

Unlike the Superbook, however, Continuum is more of a desktop setup that requires a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Also it only works on Windows 10 smartphones, such as the Lumia 950.

The Superbook will have a larger appeal than Microsoft’s approach as Android has a much larger user base than Windows 10 phones. Tough luck for iPhone users too as it’s highly unlikely Apple is coming up with something like this anytime soon.

This is how the future of laptops should be. They shouldn’t necessarily be phased out just to let smartphones take over mobile com- puting. Instead, PC and smartphone makers could figure out a way to marry the two.

Not only will it make our lives that much easier, it’s also good for the environment.

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