In recent years, we have seen the decline of the desktop, especially at home. The dedicated ‘family desktop’ has virtually disappeared in favour of individual laptops, iPads and tablets. Now an even bigger threat to the laptop has emerged, the hugely successful Kickstarter campaign for the ‘Superbook’.

The project has been crowned the 'most funded technology (hardware)' Kickstarter project in history. Cofounded by Google and Y Combinator alumni, the project has raised $2,952,508 with 16,732 backers. As production gets underway for release of the Superbook, the project poses some exciting questions around the future of the laptop.

What is the Superbook?

So what is the Superbook you may ask? Well, the Superbook quite simply is a shell which turns your Android phone into a laptop. You plug your phone into the shell and away you go, a functioning laptop. The shell provides a laptop sized screen, keyboard, multitouch keyboard - whilst simultaneously charging your phone at the same time.


What's all the fuss about?

Our phones now contain the contents of our lives, from work to home. Tasks once carried out on a desktop and now a laptop can be completed on your phone. From emails, spreadsheets and browsing the internet - there is an app for everything. But phones have small screens, they are not as powerful and their battery life is not as reliable as a laptop.  This is where the Superbook comes in, the founders claim that the shell provides users with a ‘no sacrifice’ solution to working from solely from your mobile phone.

What does it mean for the future of the laptop?

The Superbook seems the next logical step in the evolution of devices. The desktop has drilled down to the laptop and over time laptops; like the MacBook Air, have become smaller and stripped back. The Superbook reflects the dominance of mobile and the move towards users relying on only one device.

The popularity of the Kickstarter campaign also poses some interesting questions about the direction of the market, in particular how laptop giants will react if the Superbook takes off. The Superbook is cheap, starting at $99 and it is not compatible with iOS devices, how will Apple compete or have they already got something up their sleeve?

However, it is early days and once backers have begun to use the Superbook, their feedback will provide a chance to assess the future of the laptop in more depth. The Superbook signals the future and it doesn’t look good for laptops, but it looks great for mobile.

Photo Credit - Andromium Inc

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September 11, 2016
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