I-mate's Windows 8-powered smartphone can transform into a desktop suite

I-mate's Windows 8-powered smartphone can transform into a desktop suite

Summary: Called the Intelegent, it looks like any other 4.7-inch smartphone, but is powered by an Intel 'Clover Trail' Atom processor, and can transform into an entire desktop suite.

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Like Windows 8? Then how about a Windows 8-powered smartphone? A little-known company — which once used to make Windows Mobile devices — called i-mate thinks this will be a hit.

Called the Intelegent, it looks like any other 4.7-inch smartphone, but on the inside it is very different. The handset is powered by an Intel "Clover Trail" Atom processor, which gives the smartphone more horsepower than most tablets, and features 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

All this can be yours for $750, which sounds like a lot, but is in fact less than an iPhone with comparable storage.

(Image: i-mate)

The Intelegent is part of a larger desktop dock system called the "Hub". Dock the handset in the hub, it is transformed from a smartphone into wired phone handset that can also be used to make video calls. The smartphone also becomes the brains of a desktop PC, complete with a 23-inch touchscreen display, keyboard, and mouse. It also powers an auxiliary wireless tablet with a 10.1-inch display.

(Image: i-mate)

The price for this system: A cool $1,600.

This is certainly an interesting idea, but I'm not sure if buyers — enterprise and consumers — are ready to combine a smartphone with the rest of the kit they have on their desktop. The whole idea behind BYOD is having the freedom to choose from a variety of hardware. I-mate's vision seems to be one of forcing users down the path of using one device.

Topics: Windows 8, Smartphones

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24 comments
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  • We've seen this before

    We've seen this sort of thing before, the Motorola Atrix being the prime example; a cellphone that can be dropped into a tablet dock. I think manufacturers sense that the same convergence forces that saw the MP3 player, the PDA and the phone all subsumed into one device are tugging at your smartphone, desktop and tablet. They're just not entirely sure how to make it happen.

    A complication, however, is the emergence of the cloud. When your digital life lives on your phone, it makes sense that you might want to be able to plug your phone into a tablet dock sometimes, a notebook dock sometimes and a desktop dock some times, too. But when your digital life lives in the cloud, then all you need is a way of accessing it, and at that point you no longer need a single note to provide that gateway. Any internet connected console will do.
    dsf3g
    • I like it

      There are many people who do not like or trust the cloud. They may have had trouble syncing their devices. This solves that. I have always thought we were heading in this direction.

      During a recent snow storm in the northeast I didn't loose power "lucky" but I did loose internet. I did have TV because of my old fashioned antenna. I couldn't even play solitare with my Win8 solitare app because it was trying to log on. Good thing all of MY stuff saved on MY hard drives was available to me or I would have been stuck watching boring over the air TV with more commercials than content.

      Note I have the antenna for PBS and NFL also I hope that dock has a large hard drive in it.
      calfee20
      • RE: There are many people who do not like or trust the cloud.

        Get over it. It's here to stay. Computers are about sharing information. At this stage of the game a disconnected computer is a paperweight.
        AnalogJoystick
        • The problem is not the cloud...

          The problem is the reliability of the cloud and the connection speeds.

          Try uploading several 4 GB video files after you have edited them locally on your device - it takes forever.

          So yes, I agree that cloud computing is the future. But our communications infrastructure is not ready yet, and probably won't be for a good few years to come.
          wp7mango
          • As the pipeline and processing grow, so does the data

            The problem is that new advances in delivery and processing always give way to advances in software to take advantage of that ability. That's why there will always be offline capabilities for certain devices.

            Will a cellphone be one of those certain devices? I'm not sure.
            skyledavisbooks
          • A smart phone is really only determined by the form factor.

            There is no reason why a cell phone can't do the heavy lifting work of a PC if it's connected to suitable peripherals which enable productivity, such as a wireless keyboard, mouse and external monitor.
            wp7mango
          • True

            And security. Cloud has horrible security.
            Joeyolive1
    • Tabtop...

      It is the next stage on from my current working method.

      I have a Windows 8 tablet, which is docked in the office and connected to a large screen, keyboard and mouse... If it included the phone as well, I'd be able to ditch another device.
      wright_is
    • Well we have had this with Windows Mobile first then

      remember Redfly dock for Windows Mobile, and probably some other might have been there before WM. Saying Atrix had this before is totally wrong. Motorola picked it up from others and extended it.
      Ram U
  • Microsoft should have done this ...

    ... instead of locking up Windows RT in a restrictive build a la APPL ...
    ... MSFT should have continued the Windows legacy of mix and match and released a whole series of these designs.

    A customer could then choose how powerful they want their processing, how big they want their screen, how much storage they want, how classy they want their peripherals to look (or not).
    jacksonjohn
    • You never Know

      Maybe the Surface phone. They have been applying for patents.
      calfee20
  • It is the future...

    Just not yet... I like W8 but a phone screen is too small, apps aren't designed for phones and the main UI certainly isn't designed for a 4.7 inch. I'd say they'll design custom messaging and phone apps but even still. Now if they had another UI "section" where it acted like WP8 maybe.... But i can see it being the future. Buy a phone, a Monitor, a Padfone style tablet... there'll be a monitor in work and your car will have a dock (never happen, car companies love their own stuff no matter how crap it is).... It would be like having the same pc everywhere.... lose of such an item could be.... bad.... I do agree though the cloud will play a big part... but maybe the cloud might make phone processors acceptable for a desktop (if your stream/ran everything from the cloud)...
    Skunkwurx
    • Put a hard drive in the dock

      and have it back up the phone every time it is docked. You could only loose a minimal amount that way.
      calfee20
    • Same processor

      as the current lightweight Windows tablets and that is enough for normal office work.

      I use my tablet that way.

      On the move you'd use mainly apps, as opposed to desktop applications, although if you needed something quickly, it would be there.

      To be honest, I'd prefer a tablet with built in phone capabilities, to a phone with tablet and desktop capabilities.
      wright_is
  • Nice.

    It's been a long time since I last heard about i-mate smartphone. Well, great.
    By the way, IE 10 is already available for Windows 7 https://georgedao123.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/internet-explorer-is-now-officially-available-for-windows-7/.
    George Dao
  • i-mate's Windows 8-powered smartphone can transform into a desktop suite

    That is an impressive little device that I would like to try. I can see this being the center focal point of some businesses. Kind of fits in with Jason Perlow's recent article about the future of computing. And it runs Microsoft Windows 8.
    Loverock-Davidson
  • Isn't this suppose to be the goal of the Ubuntu's phone?

    So the future is already here?
    Got to admit, having a phone handset dock makes it fit right in.
    thekman58
    • "i-mate's vision seems to be one of forcing users down the path...

      ...of using one device." I was going to say the same thing about Ubuntu. This is exactly what they are trying to do with Ubuntu. The last sentence by AKH has a negative tone like this whole idea is new and not at all appealing. I think it is appealing, but it will be interesting to see how it works in practice.
      toph36
  • Why do all the tech bloggers miss the point on BYOD?

    "The whole idea behind BYOD is having the freedom to choose from a variety of hardware."

    I read this a lot. Unfortunately, like Ben Franklin's old saying about doing more with less it is horribly misinterpreted. Techies seem to think BYOD is about having a choice of kewl jewels to play with. For the majority of business users that's the last thing they want. They are inundated with devices they have to use, passwords they have to remember and vendor web sites that ran yesterday but not today. They are sick and tired of having to know a little (or a lot) about a whole bunch of technologies. To them, BYOD is about having one device they know how to use with one point of access using one security method. It is about simplicity because their job is selling product, not talking to the help desk all day. A unified device like this is exactly what they are looking to have. Where they fail is in convincing the user that this device is the one. Right now the iPhone and iPad have that distinction - even in business. They are similar enough that users see it as just one thing they have to figure out rather than seven. get it? It's the KISS principle in action from the bottom up. When techies and IT departments finally start to realize this true productivity - for the worker - will be the result.
    Mark Bryant
  • The future

    No matter what anybody says, this is the future.
    to_be_announced