Crowdfunded Mirabook is latest attempt at a laptop dock for smartphones
French firm Miraxess is offering a 13.3-inch notebook shell for Android and Windows phones and even Raspberry Pi via its Indiegogo campaign for as little as $180 -- if the project achieves full funding.
As the processing prowess of smartphones continues to increase, a commercially viable dock to turn them into full-fledged computers has become a bit of a Holy Grail for a number of companies. HP is trying its hand at such a device with its Elite x3 Windows phone and Lap Dock combination, and even Apple has submitted a patent application for a laptop powered by the iPhone.
Independent firms have also been hard at work on similar ideas. For instance, last year, the Andronium Superbook earned a cool $3 million on Kickstarter for an 11.6-inch dock and desktop app for Android phones. (The app has since been renamed Sentio, and the Superbook remains in pre-order.) Apparently undeterred by the competition, French company Miraxess has taken to Indiegogo to crowdfund its own dock concept.
Unlike the Superbook and HP's Windows-centric product, the Mirabook is a bit more agnostic about which OS it runs. It can handle both Android and Windows 10 phones, and even can support Raspberry Pi hardware and provide a display for PC sticks. As a result, you don't get a single dedicated desktop app, but Miraxess lists a number of already available programs that can handle the job.
The proposed Mirabook would have a few key specs that some of its dock competition lack. Its 13.3-inch 1080p display is bigger than both the Superbook and the 12.5-inch Lap Dock, and it will supposedly ship with additional on-board storage, though the Indiegogo page does not specify what type of storage or capacity. Miraxess also claims greater battery life than the Superbook and Lap Dock -- 10 hours standard, with increases to either 15, 20, or 24 hours if stretch goals are reached. A USB Type-C connector links the Mirabook to your phone or other device with a PC "brain."
Other stretch goals include a backlit keyboard, wireless dongle, and touchscreen functionality. But before Miraxess can think about stretch goals, it has to get the Mirabook fully funded. As of this writing, it's a little more than halfway to its $50,000 campaign goal with a month left. Early bird supporters can grab a Mirabook for $180 for the next five days, with the price then moving to $199. If the dock is successfully funded, Miraxess says the anticipated shipping date would be December 2017, when the Mirabook would go on sale to the general public for $299. (Of course, the Superbook was once expected to ship earlier this year and is now shipping in June.) Even at the heavily discounted price, the Mirabook costs more than the Superbook, but if you want a bigger screen or want to use non-Android devices with a laptop dock, this could be the answer -- if it ever makes it in into production.