Aside from jumping the gun ahead of IFA 2013 and showcasing the world’s first 4K video recording capable smartphone, a very budget-conscious 10-inch tablet and a ginormous all-in-one PC running Android, Acer is apparently laying it all out there as far as its future plans go, too.
No, the Taiwanese haven’t announced a follow-up for the Liquid S2 or Iconia A3, as that would’ve been pretty insane. Instead, they’ve taken the wraps off the Extend, a concept gizmo that could become commercially available as soon as Q1 2014.
Before anything though, Acer has to make sure there’s a market for this Extend thingy, given that similar products such as the Palm Foleo or Motorola’s Lapdocks have failed miserably in the not so distant past.
Then again, the Asus Padfones, which remain niche devices, but have been able to gain a decent foothold of late, are living proof (some) folks are interested in solutions for seamlessly turning their smartphones into something larger, more functional and productive.
And that’s exactly what the Extend intends to do. The way this works is you hook up your handheld to a laptop shell sporting a display, keyboard, full-size touchpad and its own battery and you turn that empty shell into a workstation Acer apparently wants to call a “smartbook”.
That’s a pretty neat idea, but beware, the Extend can’t be used by itself, as it doesn’t come with a processor, memory or anything else in tow. Just a 6,000 mAh ticker, which I for one hope will get a size boost by the time the Extend reaches store shelves.
Now, what’s cool here is that, despite essentially mirroring your smartphone apps, the “smartbook” lets you view them in tablet format on the big screen. Plus, the handheld can be used as a nifty gaming controller. Also, Extend’s physical keyboard looks awesome, rocking well-spaced keys and shortcuts for things like Gmail, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth activation, as well as quick browsing.
Though there are a number of kinks that still need ironing out and a few questions that Acer doesn’t have the answers to (like whether they should put a touch-enabled screen on the Extend), the plan is to sell the notebook chassis along with certain compatible Android phones in bundles starting at around $530, or €400.
Any potential adopters or do you think it would be better for Acer to discard the idea and forget about the commercial launch?