Your Smartphone Could Become The Brain and Touchpad of Your Laptop (Dock)

Mobile desktop convergence is likely to happen sometimes in the next few years, at least for some users, when your smartphone will be the brain of your laptop or desktop computer. So far I imagined the smartphone would fit into a dock powering the phone – potentially wirelessly – and connects it to a large monitor, extra storage, and a keyboard and mouse. But based on a patent filled by Apple, it may also take another form: a laptop dock where your smartphone fits right where the touchpad is supposed to be.

The patent for an “ELECTRONIC ACCESSORY DEVICE” describes “various embodiments of systems and methods for providing internal components for portable computing devices having a thin profile. More particularly, the present application describes an electronic accessory device available to extend and expand usefulness of a portable computing device”.

The patent does not appear to describe the interfaces, but presents the general concept with the laptop dock and smartphone establishing a connection when the phone is inserted into a “port (112) having a size and shape in accordance with host device”. All processing power would be in the host device (smartphone), and the laptop dock would be a dumb device providing the communication interfaces between host and device, a keyboard, a display, speakers, and a battery.

The patent also include a block diagram of the host device, which looks like a typical smartphone to me. The data link (612) between the host and the accessories can be a wired or wireless connection.

Via Apple Insider

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10 Replies to “Your Smartphone Could Become The Brain and Touchpad of Your Laptop (Dock)”

  1. This all sounds well till you get a phone call while using the dock. Just answer it you might think, but what if it is personal or business sensitive? Then you need privacy.

  2. I remember prototypesmock-ups of this setup having been shown years ago. Doesn’t that theoretically make this invalid?

  3. @Tarwin
    Who cares? Apple just tries to keep up with the other patent trolls like IBM (22 patents a day in 2016) or Samsung (15 per day). This is not about technics but courtrooms later.

    Funnily Apple is somewhat responsible for this concept to become that trivial: few years ago they sent truckloads of Apple engineers to USB Implementers forum’s technical commitees responsible for most recent power delivery and USB-C specs to prevent disasters like Micro USB again and partnered with Intel to make PCIe and display connections flexible (called Thunderbolt, in its latest incarnation now using the same USB-C connector). So one single USB-C connector for everything bandwidth intensive or needing low latency and all the other stuff happening wireless as usual.

  4. Lost count of the amount of phone docks to computer, but it never seems to be more than a niche. Tablets with attachable keyboards seem more suited.

  5. And there’s been the Andromium Superbook, the Nexbook and other third party keyboard docks.
    And Motorola had the Atrix and dock.
    And Asus have had a sequence of padphones, where you dock a phone into a tablet and then the tablet with a keyboard dock.
    And Intel have the Compute Card which does this kind of thing.

    Apple are just a patent troll.

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