This Gadget Will Let You Transform Your Smartphone Into A Notebook

Notebooks are fighting it out with tablets, be they the traditional type from Apple, Google and Samsung, or Microsoft's hybrid option in Surface. If the Casetop from US firm Livi Design becomes reality, smartphones could mount their own strike against the venerable mobile computing device, allowing one to easily turn their mobile into a lightweight laptop.

The Casetop, currently on Kickstarter vying for its share of crowdfunding dollars ($US300,000 to be exact), is essentially a notebook hull that you can plug a phone into. Using a combination of Bluetooth and video output, it allows one to interact with their device via a 720p display and keyboard, with the phone's touchscreen acting as a trackpad.

While the product's website spends a lot of time putting across the quality of the "notebook", comparing it to the likes of Apple, IBM and ASUS, it does provide some hard specifications: 11.1-inch 720p LED screen (with an upgrade to 1080p if the Kickstarter hits $500,000); 56W battery, a pair of 1W speakers, HDMI input; 3.5mm audio output and various other ports. No dimensions other than the screen are mentioned, though it comes in at 2cm thick when closed.

A list of compatible phones is available, with the major players covered, but if you have something a little more esoteric, it might be wise to take a look before handing over the $US250 minimum to back the project. That is, of course, you're interested in the first place.

[Casetop, via Liliputing]



    This thing is great and I could see this taking off and being one of the worlds go to laptop alternatives. If I had the money I would most definitely back this.

      or you could just buy an asus padfone

        The Asus Padfone is proprietary, and expensive, and would be useless as soon as you switched phones. the Casetop is platform agnostic, inexpensive, and will last you through phone upgrades for the next ten years!

    Whatever happened to the clambook that was supposed to do this?

    I love the direction this is heading - I'm hoping that in just a couple more years I'll just have one device that I plug in anywhere. This isn't it though.

    The current problem in my view is not hardware. Most phones have HDMI and bluetooth and can plug into existing monitors and keyboards. The problem is getting the OS right so it scales appropriately from 4 inch to 10inch to 20inch to 50inch (phone/tablet/PC/TV).

    Android and Ubuntu are kind of getting there but there's a way to go before one unified device beats the existing multiple devices we all already have.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Screen

    Just hope they use airplay for iPhone, since the lightning to HDMI is so crap on iPhone 5.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

    This would be awesome to carry around as the alternative carring my laptop. I just hope it can change the functionality on the web site from M site to desktop site.


    I want the #HTCOne for its: Screen

    I can already see myself breaking the extension "frame" that holds the phone. It looks too fragile.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

      Actually strong for its weight. Check out the latest designs, soon to be posted.

    I believe the future will consist of one device for all our IT needs. I think, whilst innovative, our phones are not there yet. This is the direction Microsoft should be aiming for with their phones.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

      Actually, most smart phones have the same processing power now that most laptops did circa 2004 to 2007. It won't be long before they catch up completely.

    Love the concept of using the phone as a trackpad. Looks pretty practical for android phones, but curious how iOS will behave.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

    Seems like an interesting concept, could be the way forward. It somewhat looks inspired by the Chromebooks. I think people will find a lot of use out of this idea for Composing documents and emails if they heavily rely on their phone. Could be great when linked to a work phone?

    Though I am wary of a few things such as:
    - how much power does it drain from your phone (if the Casetop isn't plugged in to a power source)?
    - how processor intensive will the Casetop be? (I assume it will be fine as its just video output, though there are reports even the S4 struggles as its bloated with TouchWiz, wonder how outputting this all to Casetop will go.)
    - how Casetop intends to manage upgrades in software/technology that may make phones incompatible? (unlikely, but say if bluetooth technology upgrades how will Casetop manage this?)

    Until these can be answered I would remain slightly hesitant to invest in Casetop, in fact I might try and figure how to contact them now with these questions :)

    P.S. Please let me win the #HTCOne it looks like an amazing phone! If I win I'll upload photos of the phone on Facebook and Instagram, tagging and promoting both Gizmodo and HTC! (Sorry for the shameless promoting lol)

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Zoe Photo App

      In the video he states that it will be able to charge your phone so the battery life is determined by the battery in the casetop (a 56Wh slightly larger than the battery in most laptops these days) which stated in the video is supposed to provide 30 hours. I'd say you might get a solid 10 or so to be realistic.
      There should be minimal processor impact as the compatible devices are designed for outputting to an external display so it would come down to the GPU in your phone being able to render to the 1080p display. On the S4 this shouldn't be a problem as it is already rendering to a 1080p display.
      Bluetooth is unlikely to change in the near future, 4.0 only came out not too long ago and that's just bluetooth 3.0 with wifi capabilities for large data transfer. Only thing that might change is the USB/HDMI plug once USB3 becomes more widespread but I don't see any need for that on a phone

      While I love the idea of this I doubt I'll back it, I already have a laptop and a tablet in addition to my S3. I just dont see the need for it in my kit but I know a few people who would love something like this so I hope they're successful.

      No power drain from phone. Casetop battery lasts over 30 hours, and actually charges your phone in the process. It will be no more processor intensive than any other video-out function from your smart phone. The technologies in place that Casetop makes use of - hdmi and bluetooth - will continue to be used for many years. But when technological changes do come, they can respond with new frontbars that incorporate the changes.

    Looks is pretty sweet. Motorola previously released the LapDock along with their Atrix phone in Australia but it was a bit of a flop because of the price point and only having the one compatible phone.

    This is a very nice looking product that addresses both of the Motorola LapDock pitfalls. Seriously considering the $250!

    I want the #HTCOne for its: BlinkFeed

      If you haven't backed it yet, Bob, please do so. They need you now. Only 9 days left.

    I don't really see people using this type of platform in everyday use. Consumers aren't going to be carrying around an 'extra accessory' just to have a 'laptop like experience,' on the go, and for sure some Chinese company will copy this design and sell it for a cheaper price which in order makes the accessory less 'worthy' to the consumer.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Screen

      It could be great if they refine the technology into a small form factor device that could allow you to control your phone on any available laptop. maybe they could pair it with an app . I'd love to be able to plug my phone into my laptop at work ans deal with sms, whats app and viper messages on a full size screen and keyboard.

      I want the #HTCOne Because I'm a fanboy Magic -> Desire HD -> One ?

        "I want the #HTCOne Because I'm a fanboy Magic -> Desire HD -> One ?" < this is absolutely awesome!

          thanks.. i really want that phone

          I want the #HTCOne even at the risk of sounding desperate :-)

        "I'd love to be able to plug my phone into my laptop at work ans deal with sms, whats app and viper messages on a full size screen and keyboard."
        ...that's exactly what the Casetop does!

    Love this idea but rather than the current crop of smartphones this would be awesome for the much touted Ubuntu Phone.It's ideal as its a full OS on the phone and on the desktop. The problem with this kind of product is it usually feels fiddly which is a downer

    I want the #HTCOne for its: BlinkFeed

      Any phone with hdmi out and bluetooth should work with the Casetop.


    I've had this idea for a while, we are definitely heading towards a future that centers around the mobile phone, with payments made via it, soon it will also be our keys and also computer. Great for guys who have to fit everything in their pocket, but bad if it is lost/stolen.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Camera Quality

      Agreed bad if lost or stolen, but not necessarily tragic. Sensitive info can be encrypted, and all other info can be sync'd with the cloud, so you could be up and running with all your info on a new phone in a day.

    Does it charge your phone while plugged in? The modern smartphone struggles to power itself for a full day let alone this.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

      Yes im pretty sure it charges it self i remember reading it in an article.

      I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

      Yes, it charges the phone while it is plugged into the casetop. The Casetop has a 30+ hour battery. That's all it is - screen, keyboard, and huge battery.

    What I am waiting for its a dock that when you place your phone in it, it automatically connect to the t.v., stereo, the printer and the wireless mouse and keyboard. The dock should have built in memory which automatically downloads everything from your phone and also charges your phone. I don't want to waste time switching everything on and hooking everything up, just place in dock and you are good to go.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Camera Quality

    While I do a lot on my phone, I can't see it's OS replacing my work... especially since Android's UI doesn't really support multiwindow like windows (minus add-ons like touchwiz).

    Would make a great travel companion if it's not work related.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Camera Quality

      Android's latest UI (Jellybean 4.2.2) does support multi-window. With so many other software programs coming on board for mobile, including Microsoft Office clones, you can now do almost anything on the Casetop that you could do on a laptop.

    Its a cool idea but i was impressed with Motorola and looked how that panned out

    I am happy enough with HD screen on the new phones

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Screen

      That's because Motorola's was expensive and proprietary.

    this would be even more awesome if you could use it with a tablet!

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Screen

    Don't really understand why you'd go for this over the padfone.... anything more than a tablet seems like a waste. Why not just have a chromebook or netbook if you're going to carry that much
    Can't wait till the day I can hold everything on my phone and plug into into a screen at work, another screen at home and into a tablet for out and about.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

      "Why not just have a chromebook or netbook if you're going to carry that much" Because you can avoid unnecessary duplication of programs and information, and because the Casetop turns your smartphone into a laptop with a high quaility screen, high quality full sized keyboard, and a 30+ hour battery that actually charges the phone! It's convergence done right. The padfone is the opposite - proprietary and expensive, becoming useless as soon as you upgrade phones.

    I've been interested in the concept of a laptop shell powered by a smart phone for ages.
    However the lack of a word processor, or in fact Microsoft Word, with equal abilities as Microsoft Word swayed my decision towards the purchase of a Surface RT instead.

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Camera Quality

      There are office clones out there right now that will read and write Word formatting. And Microsoft is rumored to be coming out with a full Office for Android in 2014. Meanwhile there's the Office 365 solution. Many choices.

    While I admire the concept and the design I think that most people who have access to a smart phone will also have access to a computer of some description so i struggle to see the point. Also most new phones have pretty decent sized screens and can be paired with a number of different Bluetooth accessories and streamed to plenty of other devices. I suppose these guys need to ask themselves is there really a niche for this stuff...... But, I could be wrong, I mean people wrote of both tablets and phablets and look how well they sell!!!

    I want the #HTCOne for its: Design

    People are getting restless with the idea of having a laptop (of desktop), tablet and a phone all three. The same thing happened back when people had printers, photocopiers, scanners and fax machines all separate. Soon the industry responded with all-in-ones - machines that performed all those functions.
    The smartphone is become so powerful and feature rich, that for all intents and purposes it is becoming the cpu that can power everything else we need. Hook it up to a full sized keyboard, a bigger screen, and maybe some wireless peripherals, and you have a comfortable work station. The Casetop is the first design to get the idea of this convergence right. Platform agnostic, resilient (future proof), and high quality for a very reasonable price.
    I'm backing it!

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