back to article NexDock 2: Electric Boogaloo. Crowdfunded laptop shell sequel touts less plastic, more pixels

Three years after the original comes another NexDock, a laptop shell aimed at owners of Android phones or lovers of the diminutive Raspberry Pi (and its brethren). The first NexDock appeared in 2016, with 2,673 backers pouring a stonking £274,639 into the product in the hope of owning something that turned out to resemble a …

  1. Matthew 3

    Some crowdfunded devices work out well

    I've been delighted with my Gemini Psion-a-like. They delivered the device (!) and the promises. In fact they're just about to release an update to the latest version of Android.The ongoing support since I received it has been at least as good as I'd have expected from a big name vendor.

    1. K Silver badge

      Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

      I was seriously tempted by one of these myself, and still sometime get close to buying.. if they release a v2, I may just take the plunge.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

        "if they release a v2"

        It's called the Cosmo Communicator (after the famous Nokia), has a small second screen piggybacked on the back of the main one so it can make and take calls when the clamshell is closed, and is on Indiegogo.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

        if they release a v2, I may just take the plunge

        Ah yes, thanks for the reminder. I need to get in touch with them - I may have a vey good reason for them for a v2 so it's worth a chat.

        As an aside (not related to the above), this appears to be the one current smartphone that could be coaxed into being usable for blind people as well.

        1. Crypto Monad

          Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

          I bought one of the very early ones. The keyboard is terrible - keys don't work unless you press them right in the middle (including the space bar).

          Maybe they'll improve it for v2 - but I won't be buying it.

          1. Paul

            Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

            did you ask Planet for a replacement keyboard mat?

    2. #41 Hornet

      Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

      The customer support from Planet Computers has been exceptional in my experience. They are very accomodating and quick to respond to support requests.

      To be completely honest the Gemini has received more in the way of updates and documentation than a lot of big name brands.

      Recently I had to switch away from my Gemini for about 4 weeks to a regular candy bar smartphone and that pretty much confirmed to me that working without the Gemini was a royal pain in the backside. The Gemini is good enough for most work applications, to the point where I'd stopped taking a laptop and bag to client meetings altogether.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some crowdfunded devices work out well

        The customer support from Planet Computers has been exceptional in my experience.

        My email to hello@ has yielded a support ticket, but as yet no response so let's just say that I'm not very impressed myself.

  2. LenG

    Mouse?

    I hate trackpads. Can I hook a mouse to this?

    OK, says you can on the kickstarter page.

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Mouse?

      Its people like you I end up yelling at when one of our trackballs departs this pale blue sphere.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Mouse?

        What the trackball balls are bigger and hurt more than the weedy ones inside regular mice of the time!

  3. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Will it play nice with Samsung's DeX?

    1. LenG

      Yes, according to kickstarter

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Server room tool

    Looks like a great tool for plugging into normally headless machines for maintenance. Instead of the more usual monitor balanced on an old cardboard box with the keyboard on your lap and mouse on the floor.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Server room tool

      Just needs a catchy name. Maybe "Visual Display Unit" ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just needs a catchy name.

        or perhaps "Extraordinarily thin client"?

      2. Horridbloke

        Re: Server room tool

        Peripherally McPeripheralface?

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Server room tool

      In our data center we call the cart with a monitor and keyboard on it the "crash cart," but anything with "crash" in the name would probably be poor marketing.

      1. Paul

        Re: Server room tool

        you still need a VGA socket for datacentre work.

        and a serial port. but an R-Pi would solve that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alas, things did not pan out quite as expected

    Here's a _very_ recent text I have seen from a rather known manufacturer / peddler of (...), with newbie advice on how to organize crowdfunding (a word-for-word quote):

    "Going out to market with your product as early as possible is the best way to find out whether people are willing to pay for it."

    (WTF?!)

    And this:

    "Conduct a smoke-test in which you pre-sell a product before it even exists, ensure they’re willing to pay and then return it with the promise to be back in a year with the finished product."

    Given this is a model recommended by "experts", what do you expect? As with other good ideas (car-pooling, couch-surfing, social networking, alternative payment schemes, etc.), once people smelled MONEY in it, they turned crowdfunding into a shithole overflowing with shit.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Alas, things did not pan out quite as expected

      Why are you surprised? It works exactly the same with most products, all thats changed is the size of the shop window. Instead of talking to a few key clients - you spaff it out over the internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alas, things did not pan out quite as expected

        I don't "most products" thrown at the market in a half-baked state, with the sole purpose of generating interest (= luring investors/suckers).

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Alas, things did not pan out quite as expected

          Historically you'd take your half-baked or less product - or even just idea - to meetings with a few people with money, and beg them to give or lend you some.

          So the only difference is that historically, the backers had a claim on some portion of your profits or property, while it seems these days "backers" have nothing at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Alas, things did not pan out quite as expected

            the problem I see here, at least in the quotes above is that they imply those who seek funds should _use deception_, i.e. claim to have a product that actually _does not exist_.

    2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Alas, things did not pan out quite as expected

      Just bloody Millenials reinventing the wheel.

      In my day the salesperson went out and sold some product which didn't exist then trousered the commission and legged it.

  6. glococo

    Really excited.

    Probably soon from other manufacturers.

  7. Arthur the cat Silver badge
    Trollface

    choose an assembly line with no fire accident in the past

    It would be better to choose an assembly line with no fire accident in its future.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: choose an assembly line with no fire accident in the past

      One assumes that they rebuilt with more sprinklers.

  8. tiggity Silver badge

    limited amount of phones supported

    On website it said android devices with desktop mode are supported - not a huge number of devices support that currently - essentially just Samsung & Huwaei (and lots of decent old devices will never receive upgrades that give desktop mode as, unless manufacturer specific tweaks added, most phones will need android Q for desktop mode).

    Shame as it would have been a good use for an old phone with a damaged touch screen (not cracked or anything some areas just do not respond to touch & not worth the repair cost when looked at how cheap a replacement phone was) but phone otherwise OK, so would have been ideal for use with mouse and keyboard.

    1. Argh

      Re: limited amount of phones supported

      It won't work even with some newer phones like Pixel 3 either, which will get Android Q, as Pixel 3 doesn't support HDMI over USB-C.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RPi Compute Module

    Shame nobody has added a slot for a Raspberry Pi compute module. That could be quite interesting, making it easily upgradeable when RPi CM4 is released.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: RPi Compute Module

      That was my thought - how much does a sodimm slot cost? You've already got the wiring for everything else anyway...(maybe needs an SD card, I'd have to look it up and I'm lazy)

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: RPi Compute Module

        To answer my own question - The normal compute module has 4GB on board, the Lite version exposes the SD card pins to the socket.

        Given that the device already has an SD card slot I'd suggest that either should be easily achievable. Then you have a useful bit of kit for plugging into headless devices anywhere, a reasonably competent laptop (for basic use) which you can easily take in and out of the states, just drop a new SD card in... (then download the image and reburn once there.

    2. Paul

      Re: RPi Compute Module

      if you want an R-Pi laptop, consider instead the PineBook Pro.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RPi Compute Module

        > if you want an R-Pi laptop, consider instead the PineBook Pro.

        People that want to build something based on a Raspberry Pi usually do so because of the support and community that other ARM SBCs lack.

        However the point of a laptop using a Compute Module is the ugpradability such a solution could offer, potentially allowing the likes of Pine to produce their own compatible Compute Module (it's not a proprietary format).

      2. ROC

        Re: RPi Compute Module

        Or a Motorola Lapdock from eBay. $50-100, plus 10-15+ for HDMI cable with micro female on one end, and standard HDMI male on other end; and USB with micro female on one end, and USB-A on other. The 2 micro females must be able to fit together (maybe with a little trimming of the insulation on the end...) on the adjacent micro males sticking up from the flip-out tray on the back. Works with Lumia/Continuum as well as R-Pi's, and can even provide power for the RPi for portable usage.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ideal laptop to take to the States

    In case Homeland Security decide they want to impound it.

  11. garryo

    Superbook did finally ship, at least to me. It was two years late, rather than three and when it finally turned up, unfortunately was rubbish - it basically worked, but flakily, and the quality of the laptop shell was very poor (especially the trackpad). It was a great idea, but poorly implemented. Other than the Gemini PDA, I haven't yet had a good experience with Kickstarter/Indiegogo - delays of more than two years seem to be par for the course, and the standard excuse that crowdsourcing means you have to expect this doesn't cut it any longer - it's just being used as a reason for borderline fraud. I'm in the middle of yet another ill-advised so-called crowdsourcing 'investment' with FlowMotion - a smartphone stabilizer/gimbal, also nearly two years late and made even more infuriating by the lack of communication, ridiculously overoptimistic hyperbolae and glossy marketing that ignores the central problem - the product isn't ready for mass shipment. Crowdsourcing is a superficially attractive proposition for early technology-adopters, but I'm not falling for it again.

    1. Arel

      Exactly the same experience as I had with the superbook. After much cocking about getting the bastard to work - honestly one of the worst install experiences I've had in 20 years in IT - I got it up and running, but frankly it's rather poo.

  12. Sampler

    $330 AUD

    For that pricepoint I have a whole heap of laptops to pick from, so why does a laptop with the laptop removed cost more to do less?

    (in saying that, my dex dock has been used twice, so, guess I'm not the target market)

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: $330 AUD

      Can your laptop act as a KVM for a server?

      1. Criggie

        Re: $330 AUD

        I built a "football" for this exact purpose.

        Its an old HP thin client running Debian in a Pelican case the size of a briefcase. Design didn't cut the case at all so its fully waterproof etc.

        There's a small 2 port KVM in there, with a 15" viewsonic VGA LCD's guts fastened to the inside of the lid, and a small keyboard and mouse.

        Case also holds server breakout cables for Cisco and HP and IBM (models I worked with at the time) and multiple blue cisco serial console cables

        The thin client offers a NIC and a real serial port for consoles, and enough USB ports to console to ~8 other things via USB/serial cables.

        Its all prewired for power so one wall plug does the whole case. No UPS or batteries though.

        The idea was I can grab the football and a backpack full of spare cables and rock up to a data center, and fix many things straight off.

        Long term plans included adding some kind of legs but ended up changing jobs before finding a good way to do this. Also thought about integrating a managed ethernet switch like a small juniper or cisco.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: $330 AUD

          So, this is somewhat slimmer than your pelican, probably easier and longer battery life, still has USB for serial (though I imagine you could expose gpio pins for direct serial if you are so inclined).

          Might need to grab a VGA-HDMI conversion box for older servers...

          Seems a lot more convenient to me.

          Oh, Ethernet - maybe grab a tiny router with ddwrt - that’ll let you piggy back onto any chosen vlan.

  13. Gonzo_the_Geek

    I'd back them in a heartbeat if they offered a UK keyboard, but it looks like they wont (offering stickers is not good enough I think).

    Shame as it would fit a niche very nicely, but ho-hum...

  14. Paul

    sentio superbook?

    whatever happened to that? and how is this one different, other than offering a more modern USB-C port?

  15. Robert Knight

    Here's one you can buy now

    A device based on the Pi-Top V2 is also available NOW- no crowd funding, no wait etc...

    ConnectSolve SmartLap - USB-C Laptop Dock for Samsung DeX and Huawei Easy Projection Smartphones https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PJTWNGN/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_i_DV5LCbA3VFMZH

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019