Samsung came up with a novel idea that allows a phone to dock with the shell of a notebook and run two different operating systems.
The company filed a patent application in the third quarter of last year to protect the concept, noted Patently Mobile on Tuesday. I like the idea even though it's not entirely original: Motorola delivered a similar product back in 2011 with the Atrix HD smartphone and Laptop Dock accessory.
Motorola's product was a bit ahead of its time and not well implemented, however. When docking the phone, the laptop part would boot up in a custom version of Linux and was generally clunky to use. Samsung is proposing the use of Android phone for its concept but the laptop would actually run Windows.
That configuration would likely be appealing to a wider audience if done correctly. At this point in time, though, it simply doesn't make as much sense.
Why not? The answer can be summed up in one word: Continuum.
That's the concept Microsoft debuted when it introduced Windows 10 last month. Continuum can turn a phone into a PC simply by connecting the handset to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. The software intelligently scales from a handheld, mobile view to that of a traditional desktop computer.
Granted, Continuum works with an external monitor and accessories. There's no reason to believe, however, that with minimal tweaks, those connections can be made through a laptop such as the one Samsung has proposed in its patent.
I don't have anything against Android here. In fact, I routinely use a Moto X or a Google Nexus phone, especially when I'm wearing my Android Wear smartwatch. And I'm looking forward to seeing what Google announces for Android at this week's Google I/O developer event; you can read my expectations here.
The simple fact is we've seen a number of docks, both for laptops and tablets, that use Android phones in the past. They've never really taken off partly because Android isn't the best platform for traditional desktop or laptop computing. A better approach might be a Google Android phone that powers Google's Chrome OS in a laptop shell but that's an idea I've had for several years and haven't seen Google attempt.
It just makes more sense to me if the phone that powers a laptop dock runs Windows 10 since the operating system can natively scale appropriately. And it would bring consistency to the user interface between both the phone and the laptop, regardless of the screen you're working with.