Using your smartphone as a laptop is not a new concept, but rarely have we seen it made possible at such a low price. The team at Andronium, Inc. has started a crowdsourcing campaign to launch the Superbook -- a $99 laptop dock for Android smartphones. On a mission to "democratize the desktop," the shell has the potential to become a viable second or third laptop for mobile professionals looking for a quick and affordable computing solution.
Aesthetically, the Superbook is a convincing Apple MacBook Air 11-inch clone. The device offers an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 LCD panel, what appears to be a full-size island-style keyboard and a large gesture-capable touchpad. There's also a built-in battery that Andronium claims will last eight hours. Outside of that, the Superbook is an empty shell, just waiting for you to hook up your Android phone via the USB Type-C or microUSB port.
The Superbook is powered by your phone's processor. That said, there are still some minimum specs your device will have to meet in order to play nice with the shell, including Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and at least 1GB of RAM. It's a solid assumption that the shell will work better with phones that have more than a GB of RAM to spare and 64-bit processors.
Once your phone is connected to the Superbook, the shell will launch the company's proprietary Andronium operating system, which enables multitasking capabilities. In short, it's like Windows Continuum software for Android, except you can access Google Play's extensive library of apps.
It's a solid idea, but as someone that is constantly using her knees as a desk in cramped spaces (think press conferences), I wish the Superbook offered somewhere to store the phone. As it stands, it'll just be dangling from a cable hanging on for dear life.
Still, $99 is almost too good to pass up, but until Andronium starts shipping out review units, I'll hold my final judgement in hopeful optimism.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.