Samsung has launched a new device called Samsung Dex (for Desktop Experience), a phone docker that turns your phone into a PC.
Samsung Dex supports connections for monitor via HDMI, keyboard, mouse and 2 USB ports that you can use to connect speakers and other devices. The way Samsung Dex works is you place your phone in the docking station and you can immediately see a desktop like UI on your monitor with your mobile’s app drawer on the side. You can use your mobile apps from your desktop using keyboard & mouse.
It’s important to note that this is not a simple projection of your mobile phone’s screen onto a monitor. Many of the mobile apps have been adapted to work as desktop applications using DeX. For example, your browser would show content as normal desktop browsers, instead of displaying it in a responsive vertical layout.
It does provide the obvious advantage of not needing an expensive & bulky CPU. And you can play games on it, which would look amazing on a bigger screen. However, only a limited number of apps have been adapted to work on Dex at the moment. Most of the apps available on Google Play Store would look like a stretched version of their mobile UI.
At this point, Samsung DeX seems to be more useful to business users instead of consumers. For example, would you like to read whatsapp messages and browse instagram photos on a wide screen monitor? Probably not.
However, it can be really helpful to reply to emails, which can be difficult using mobiles, especially if you need to send attachments and screenshots. You can also use a variety of office productivity tools such as Google docs, Skype, Microsoft office, Adobe Photoshop more easily. A keyboard & mouse would naturally help you type faster, and easily copy-paste stuff across applications while working.
In the past, others like Motorola & Microsoft have tried replacing desktops with phones, and failed. The main reason being there are very few mobile apps available that provide the full desktop experience when used on a bigger screen.
One way to fix this is to stream application sessions using a virtual machine. That’s why Samsung is partnering with VMWare to bring virtual Windows desktop apps to the DeX experience, using an app that lets you stream a virtual session. However, this heavily depends on the quality of your internet connection.
Samsung Dex seems like an interesting new technology that has the potential to increase business productivity one day, if nurtured properly. It’s pricing & release dates are, however, not available at the moment.