For years, I've wanted a portable device as powerful as my PC that I could attach to a monitor or TV while on the go for easy access to productivity tools.
Companies like Motorola and Asus have developed products that use a smartphone as the core CPU, tethered to a laptop shell, though none really took off. If a recent patent is any indication, Apple also has at least a passing interest in the concept.
But a new product introduced by Samsung this week is one of the best solutions I have seen to date. DeX is a dock that allows the new Galaxy S8 or S8+ smartphones serve as a PC CPU. There are multiple ports on the DeX for linking to a TV, monitor, printer, or other USB-supported devices and Bluetooth support.
In this scenario, you just pop your S8 or S8+ into the DeX cradle for the full PC experience. The OS is Android with a UI modified for the big screen.
What makes this more feasible than something like Motorola's Atrix concept from 2011 is the growing power of today's mobile processors. Of course, a PC processor can still deliver a better computing experience, but smartphone and tablet processors can now handle a number of everyday productivity tasks. DeX simply takes that power and puts it on a bigger screen.
I believe DeX has some interesting potential. In fact, I think it might strike a nerve with many mobile workers whose smartphone is at the center of their business and personal lives today.
I know this concept is a bit radical, and may not have enough power to deliver the desktop-like experience many people need. But when it comes to extending the role of a smartphone in the lives of mobile business users, DeX is an intriguing alternative to lugging around heavy gadgets.