The plug and play device is essentially a smart laptop shell — with a keyboard, multi-touch trackpad, and screen — allowing users to turn any Android smartphone in — as long as it runs Android 5.0 and has 1.5 GB of ram — to a laptop. All users have to do is to connect their phones via Type-C or Micro-A USB cables — which simultaneously charges the phone.
Superbook is powered by Andromium, an app that provides a desktop experience on Android, including multi-windowed environment, a taskbar, keyboard shortcuts, right click support, a full featured file manager, a desktop style web browser and a notification centre. Complete calling functions are still enabled once the app is running. The complete Office suite is also compatible so users can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Here’s a lowdown of its other key features:
- 11.6″ LCD HD display
- Over 8 hours of battery life
- Keyboard with Android navigation keys and shortcuts support
- Support for Google Play Store and millions of Android apps
- Open Andromium SDK for Android apps
Created by Y Combinator Alumni Andrew Jiang and Google Alumni Gordon Zheng, Andromium’s Superbook may be a God-sent to emerging markets, which are traditionally big consumers of Android devices due to their low price entry.
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e27 last reported in October 2015 that Android smartphone users far exceeded iOS users in developing nations in Southeast Asia. For example, in Thailand, there are nearly three times more Android users than that of iOS. In Indonesia, the gulf was nearly 15 times bigger. It is clear the Southeast Asia market presents a lucrative opportunity to move large sales of Superbooks.
In fact, Jiang told e27 that Andromium is already in talks with major online retailers and manufacturers in Asia to produce and distribute Superbooks.
The Superbook itself is priced from US$99 — lower than even most netbooks. Jiang said by leveraging the smartphone’s capabilities and processing power, it is able to leave out unnecessary components in laptop that are already in the smartphone, thus, keeping production costs low. Support for Android N and resizable windows are expected in the upcoming release.
Andromium Inc is also using Superbooks to promote access to education and learning in impoverished African communities. It is partnering with the Nelson Mandela Long Walk To Freedom Education Project in their #Freedom2learn campaign to distribute its Superbooks to libraries, where they will be paired with AgMobile Africa’s phones.
Image Credit: Andromium Inc.