I’ve had the Superbook on my desk for some time now, and yet haven’t used it. Not haven’t used it much, but haven’t used it at all. The thing doesn’t charge the phone, and even when not putting a phone into reverse charge the support shell app(s) seem to drain it rapidly. The shell is awkward and really brings home that even with the shell trying to compensate for it, a phone is not set up to be used as a laptop.
There is also the physical layout. While the thing is nicely thin, a thicker setup that didn’t require any access to the phone for working it, that would allow the phone to be a ‘drop in’ component would be more convenient. As would charging (the Superbook or suchlike itself) by USB – the only issue there is how much power can be moved through the port and is it to be micro or USB-C. I do hope the future converges on USB-C. It’s easier to connect than even compared to having the micro connector the right way ’round. I still like the idea of a laptop-ish terminal that uses the phone as its “brain” and I think its time will come, but nobody has truly done it right yet. Sure, some manufacturers had something that supposedly worked well – for only their stuff. To take off, it has to be “any damn phone” or close to it – and the phone OS has to be up to not being dependent on a touch screen.
What brought the above home was a change in work schedule which results in my having a reason to have a larger tablet or smaller laptop during a break a time or two each week. I don’t have a laptop suitably small, so a tablet it is. I picked up a(nother) bluetooth keyboard with some really nice features. It has three bluetooth options (not simultaneous) as well as 2.4GHz RF option (USB dongle), has keys that can be backlit if desired, and has an integral trackpad. I’m not a fan of trackpads, but they got this one right – it’s “above” the keys, so there’s no annoying click or cursor move while typing. I’d still prefer something running Linux (and my software of choice) rather than Android, but even using the setup once brought home how much better the overall arrangement is than the Superbook and phone.
I suspect I might have the tablet replace the Superbook on my desk – even if I just test this or that with it, it’ll see more use. I do not expect to buy one immediately as it becomes available, but the Pinetab certainly looks like an interesting device. It might be what I really want – if only they’d put the trackpad in the right place – out of the way, above the keys. Then, I don’t need to use their keyboard, I would expect. And while it might be underpowered, my use case is mainly using a word processor or text editor.
As for what I’ll do with the Superbook… no idea. Maybe its fate will eventually involve a Raspberry Pi. I’ve been pondering getting one of those and setting it up as fileserver or such.