TCL, which is the owner of the Alcatel brand, has great plans for the future. During Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company has demoed its smartbook concept to Engadget.
The 11-inch MacBook Air-like laptop has no brains of its own; it rather relies on the hardware of a smartphone to effectively transform it into a full-blown laptop. The best part – it does its magic sans any wires. The screen is connected via Wi-Fi, whereas the keyboard and multi-touch glass trackpad rely on Bluetooth connection. That screen, in case you wonder, isn’t touch-enabled, but we don’t mind. We like how it looks like even without the ability to touch stuff on the display.
The pairing process uses MediaTek’s Hotknot technology that doesn’t require NFC chips. This, unfortunately, means easy pairing will only work with devices rocking MediaTek chips. So, high-end Snapdragon 800-powered phones are out; or at least, pairing with them will include some manual settings.
Another downside is that Alcatel plans to make its smartbook compatible only with select (octa-core) phones it sells. I’m not sure why in the world they would want to take that route — except to slightly boost sales of their mobile devices — and I’m hoping they’ll change their mind in the meantime. The way I see things, they could sell a ton of these smartbooks if they make them compatible with more phones.
Unfortunately, Alcatel’s smartbook project is still far from the public release and we’ll rather have to wait for another few months to see it hitting the store shelves. We will keep our eyes on Alcatel and let you know as soon as we hear something new on this. Stay tuned in the meantime…