Two big obstacles have always stood in the way of smartphones supplanting laptops in usefulness – productivity and Internet speeds. The introduction of 4G networks will solve the latter problem for many, but nothing will change the fact that you can’t really get a significant amount of work done on a 4” screen. The ClamBook, from ClamCase, addresses that problem in its own way.
The ClamBook has the form factor of an extremely thin laptop. It’s that thin for good reason – there isn’t much in the way of guts here to speak of. Instead, the ClamBook connects to an Android phone or iPhone, and uses the phone as a processor. All of your smartphone’s data and apps will be accessible from ClamBook’s desktop. The ClamBook does this using one MHL cable, which allows for powering of the phone and transferring of HD streaming video simultaneously.
The ClamBook features a multi-touch trackpad, full-sized keyboard, and dedicated Android keys similar to what you find on an Android phone (the home button, for example). The display features a cinematic-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio, and the ClamBook packs in proprietary 3D CinemaSound, to round out the movie watching experience. Beats watching movies on a 4” screen, at least.
There is also mention of a Motorola Webtop desktop app available, which would include Firefox, a file manager, an on-screen dialer allowing you to make calls from the ClamBook, and web app access. According to ClamCase’s website, this feature will only be available on certain Motorola smartphones – not exactly casting a wide net with that feature.
If the lack of productivity is the only thing keeping you from ditching laptops altogether, the ClamBook looks promising, as long as it is competitively priced. It remains to be seen how well apps will run on the ClamBook, especially those designed for 4” screens – stretched out apps aren’t going to be a big hit.
For those who only carry around their smartphones in their pocket, the ClamBook probably won’t be of much use – it doesn’t matter how thin it is, a laptop form factor will never be portable, in the same sense that a smartphone is portable. Those who wouldn’t otherwise be encumbered by bags or backpacks probably won’t start toting one around now just for the sake of the ClamBook. For those already lugging around multiple devices, the ClamBook could be a nice, light substitute for a full-sized laptop.
The ClamBook is scheduled to become available this Holiday season. Pricing is unknown as of now.