Yesterday, Samsung unveiled its much anticipated Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Now that the two devices have been officially announced, it puts an end to several months of leaks and rumors that attempted to paint an image as to what these smartphones would be like. It also gave the public a clearer look on what made the Galaxy S8 and S8+ stand out from its competition. In particular, it clarified reports of the dock accessory rumor that promised to turn the Galaxy S8 into an almost computer.
Along with the announcement of its new flagship devices, the company also unveiled the new Samsung DeX; a dock accessory that transforms the Galaxy S8 and S8+ into a desktop machine. When the device is plugged into the dock through its USB-C port, the DeX can be connected to a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. The dock can be connected to wired or wireless hardware.
Once your S8 or S8+ has been hooked into the DeX and transformed into a “desktop” computer, you can already start using mobile apps, browse the internet, and edit documents. And while you can do all these things on your smartphone, the DeX dock gives you freedom to multitask, reply to messages through a task bar, watch videos in resizable windows, and do many other things as you would on a desktop computer.
But how well does Android work with a desktop interface? Samsung has ensured that user experience with this will be seamless by creating apps optimized for DeX. Just like you would normally do on a desktop computer, the windows can be resized and dragged around. There’s even support for right-click functions complete with contextual menus.
In addition, some third parties have optimized their apps to work with DeX. As for the ones that haven’t (yet), the apps can work on a monitor but cannot be resized. With the way things are going, we can expect more support for DeX to come in the next weeks.
This isn’t the first time companies attempted to turn smartphones into desktop computers. A few years ago, Microsoft unveiled Continuum for Windows 10. The feature allowed devices like the Lumia 950 and 950 XL to run like a desktop computer. This inspired other manufacturers to follow the same route, like HP and its Elite X3 device, Ubuntu and its M10 tablet, and ASUS with its PadFone handset.
These devices, however, do not hold a match to Motorola’s recognition as the first to attempt such a feat. As Motorola has done with its Atrix smartphone, the device ran a limited hybrid OS when it was plugged into an accessory. Eventually, Motorola phased out this feature as there was a problem with adoption. Hopefully, Samsung learns from the failures of these devices with the DeX; as it truly shows much potential.
Samsung’s DeX accessory is said to start shipping next month with a $150 price tag. Check out Samsung’s promotional video for the dock below:
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