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Casetop Turns Smartphones into Laptops

The trouble with many tech products is their relatively brief usable lifespans, with plenty of people replacing key items such as their laptops and netbooks after just a few short years, which adds up to more e-waste and more demand for new materials for producing the next item.

But if the main components of these portable computing devices lasted for ten years instead of just a couple of years, and the core of the device, such as the CPU, memory, etc., is in your smartphone instead, it could mean far fewer of these in the e-waste pile.

One company is working to that end, by developing what they call a Casetop, which lets you dock your smartphone to a keyboard and display and in essence, turn your smartphone into a laptop.

Livi Design claims that not only can the Casetop outlast laptop and netbook battery life by a factor of 3 (while also charging your smartphone), but that because it is compatible with most smartphones (from 14 different manufacturers), it’s a truly universal accessory.

The specs of the Casetop:

  • 11.1 Inch 720p HD LED Backlit LCD Screen (1080p optional)
  • 56 Watt Hour Battery Pack
  • Full size 78-key keyboard
  • 2x 1 Watt High Fidelity Speakers
  • Standard HDMI Input
  • MHL Video Input, Power Output.
  • Dual mode Micro USB.
  • 3.5mm Audio Output
  • Full-size ‘Always Powered’ USB for charging other products

According to the current Kickstarter campaign, Casetops are adaptable to over 200 phones, and have multiple locations for attaching them to the device. Livi Design also has 17 other options for upgrading and personalizing them, such as solar charging or wireless video.

The key idea behind the Casetop is that because it uses your smartphone as the core, when you get a brand new phone, you also get an upgraded computer, because the hardware and the operating system on the phone have been upgraded. If it could completely replace a laptop or netbook for users, then it has the potential of greatly reducing the amount of resources consumed in the name of mobile computing.

And it gets even better, because it’s priced at just $249.

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