No matter how many awkwardly sized “phablets” or mini-tablets there are, the same issue will appear. There is just no way to combine the portability of a phone with the screen size of a true tablet or laptop. There is a directly inverse relationship between the size of a product and its convenience and portability. Imagine then, if there was a device that was optional, and that acted as a portable monitor for any smartphone. There are products out like this already, but a majority of the are device specific, and thus, not very marketable. The way Abilene, Texas based design team Livi Design chose to solve this problem was to make a straightforward device that was flexible as well as progressive.
The project’s name is Casetop and as is common for many of these KickStarter projects; the idea is so simple that it is a wonder this device has not been mass marketed prior. All the Casetop really is is a screen built on top of a battery and keyboard. Most smartphones plug into the front of the keyboard and are instantly displayed on the screen. With smartphones becoming more powerful their capabilities are increased and yet the small screen size limits what they, realistically, can do. Even with a bluetooth keyboard it would be difficult to write up a paper or long email, but plug it into the Casetop and there instantly is an 11.1″ display of the connected smartphone.
The construction of the Casetop is being overseen by the same company that produced the wildly popular Pebbe E-Watch, and there are a few other big name advisors to the project. One of the biggest points that is made in the promotional video is that the Casetop will feature fully customizable parts and allow for easy updating; making the Casetop something that can be bought with confidence, as it will not become obsolete in a year or two. The screen is currently only 720p but a stretch goal will bump that up to 1080p. Also, the Casetop is supposed to deliver unreal battery life. As in somewhere in the range of 30 hours, and all for around $250.
It is hard to look at this and see something I do not like. A solid, eco-friendly design, quick connect and disconnect, veteran advisors, a low price, and a commitment to sustaining one product over many years. The Casetop is asking for $300,000 to make an initial run of 1000 machines, and currently they are just under $60,000 with 25 days to go as of writing. So, go out and consider giving to a great cause, because some day we all might be carrying these around with us instead of laptops.