Will Samsung’s Galaxy S8 finally crack the smartphone-to-desktop convergence idea?

One of the most interesting technology ‘innovations’ that has not yet succeeded (despite several attempts by reputable companies) is the convergence of the smartphone and desktop.

This week, Samsung revealed its latest flagship smartphone threatening to dethrone Apple’s iPhone 7. With fantastic ID, new screen technology and its Bixby AI assistant (the most interesting feature imo), they are in a good position to do this. On paper it looks great but I’m looking forward to seeing the product reviews before making a decision — one big unknown is how its conservative 3000mAh battery will translate to battery life (especially with the power-hungry processor, modem, and screen).

Back to the mobile-desktop convergence … many vendors have tried to do it over the last few years:

  • Motorola ATRIX’s Webtop feature (2011)
  • Ubuntu’s mobile-to-desktop feature (Meizu Pro 5 was the first smartphone to integrate this in 2016)
  • Microsoft’s Continuum feature for Windows Phone 10 (2016)

Will Samsung succeed where others have failed? One could argue that the above implementations were way advanced before its time (both software and hardware advancements have leap frogged in terms of performance and capabilities).

More people will also buy the Galaxy S8 compared with any of the above smartphones. 

Samsung also has a ‘work mode’ on its products called Knox. It’s basically a security platform + sandbox for work-related materials. Forced work-life balance if you will. 

Will our future work habits change (getting rid of laptops) because of this feature? Microsoft and Apple’s tablets support this notion but we’ll have to see. For this feature to work, you’ll need purchase a seperate hardware dock called the DeX.

According to Greenbot‘s hands-on, “The DeX Station is a puck-sized dock that connects your S8 to a big-screen monitor so you can type and multitask just like if you were using a PC. Once it’s plugged in, a new interface will appear on your monitor, and all of your phone’s apps will be just a click away.”

If Samsung could integrate the Galaxy S8’s iris-scanning authenticator as well as Bixby’s AI voice-assistant into its DeX product… this could be a very interesting solution… as long as the mouse-keyboard latency is natural (no input lag).

Samsung’s DeX dock for the Galaxy S8 will cost about US$150 and expected to ship in April (in the States).

What do you guys think? Can you see yourself plugging your phone into a dock and working off a screen?

The ubiquitousness of cloud services definitely makes this attractive. It also reminds me of the “plug your gaming laptop into an external GPU (via USB/Lightning/DisplayPort) for more performance at home so you can play games” feature — but that’s another rant altogether.

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