Librem "Shell" Idea - Razer Project Linda


#1

I think a few users (I believe @Caliga , maybe others) have posted the idea of docking the Librem 5 in a laptop shell, basically turning the phone into a laptop. The plans for the Librem 5 already call for convergence, but certainly traveling with a monitor and keyboard isn’t always as convenient as a laptop form factor, which still gives a larger screen + HW keyboard in an easy-to-travel-with form.

Seems like Razer is playing with this idea, too:

https://www.razerzone.com/projectlinda

The Purism team (and community of this forum) may want to keep their eyes on this for any inspiration it can provide.


Sentio/Superbook compatibility
Phone Case for Librem 5! Who could make a great case?
#2

That’s really neat! Especially how the phone doubles as a touchpad. Heck, I want that!

And it seems like more project like this are popping up:

The advantage of the Mirabook seems to be that is already beyond “concept” phase, funded six months ago and now presented on the CES (German news article)
It’s also simpler to do, as it does not dock the phone and does not use it as touchpad - which is also why I like the Project Linda much more :wink:

So, dear Purism… Please give us a Librem “Shell” that does what Project Linda wants to do :smiley:
Until then, maybe the Mirabook can ease the pain, as it should be compatible with the Librem 5.


#3

Just wanted to write the same. Mirabook uses USB-C which is also part of the specs of the Librem 5. The only thing which I don’t know is if it will work software wise. They say it would support Raspberry pi, but that’s only hardware…

Would be fantastic having a linux laptop in my phone, traveling with the laptop and phone at once. I am really amazed by this whole idea, i hope that both projects will be a great success.


#4

I crave for such a device to ever happen one day. Having a libre tinycomputer in my pocket and its all-in-one screen & keyboard in my backpack sounds almost too good to be true.

The Mirabook looks already very promising, but when using the laptop form-factor I expect the device to behave like an actual laptop. Android on a bigger screen is still Android. I think the Librem would have a strong advantage over Android devices if it supported the Mirabook.

This could also trigger the interest of many new users both for the Librem 5, and for Purism’s line of products.


#5

Just as long as the device can display information in a different format on the full screen - the device itself would need to be prepared for the specific docking station (or “shell” as you put it) and the shell would likely need some chips in it to streamline things as well.

It’d be really annoying if it displays on the full 1920x1080 widescreen in a similar format as on the phone. Somehow you’d have to make it so that it looks totally different when plugged-in than it does on the phone.

It’d be pretty cool if it functions like a phone with the “portrait” aspect ratio and scrolling etc when in phone mode, but operates like a full-sized computer when in it’s docked state.

It might take quite a bit of creative thinking to get that to work on an iOS or Android device since they’re simply not designed to be that way - they’re designed just to be phone systems and only look right on a phone. But since Librem 5 will apparently be running a full-sized system on it, maybe it’ll be possible.

Purism will likely have to work very closely with KDE to make this work should they pursue it.

That being said, for now Purism probably has it’s hands full just building the phone itself. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and overstuff their plates right now. They just got back from late-December tech meetings and Meltdown/Spectre has already made January hectic enough as it is. I imagine Purism is very busy right now and a docking station idea, while cool, will probably come after they deal with what’s already on their plates.

Right now they’re probably trying to figure out what CPU to even put in the next Librem revision because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to release a new revision until they can get their hands on a CPU that has Meltdown/Spectre fixed at a hardware level. In regards to that - I say they wait until one comes out, even if that means waiting for Cannonlake or even Icelake. They need to get in-touch with Intel and get specifics on when a fixed processor will come around, if possible. If Intel is, by chance, crazy/stupid enough to not even have plans to fix it, then it’s time to change what brand they go with.

Er, sorry, getting off-topic. But you get what I mean, they’ve already got their hands full. But this is a cool idea, sure. Definitely something worth thinking about when they actually have the time.


#6

Hmmm but as the campaign offered the phone with monitors this will habe to be implemented at some time anyway. I assumed that for this laptop screen thing this should then Mord or less work out of the box. Eitherway I agree that they sure habe and should habe different prios right now :wink:


#7

I can think of various better things for Purism to do.
Like a 4.5" phone


#8

@Alex, @maximilian: sure, priorities are on the phone and on the Librem v4.
But technically such a shell is not really ambitiuous:
The Librem 5 is promised to be able to connect to a USB-C hub and tunnel HDMI through it. It does not care if that hub resides in a 24" screen, sits on your desktop or is built in a laptop shell.

So, technically, you take an empty laptop case with keyboard and screen, wire it up with a USB hub and are basically done. Attaching more USB-devices (e.g. card reader, storage, audio) is just a bonus.

It is really hard to predict, but I could imagine that with such a device available, market share of the Librem 5 could rise much faster. For now, 99% percent of potential customers would either say it’s not as sexy as their Apple device or it is just a way too expensive replacement for their Android device, but with none of their beloved apps…

With the shell, it has a unique selling point (for non-Linux-lovers and security-geeks) and allows people to get something that nobody else has, and thus, ironically, help make it mainstream (as it happens with all the new things like… transistor radios) :rofl:


#9

Don’t worry too much - battery powered usb-c screens are already here, and bluetooth keyboards have longer and longer batter lives. I’d advocate keeping the Purism ladies and gents focused on the phone, and we users can take care of using it as a laptop and letting them know the finer points of how it goes so if they bring a product out for the purpose, it’s already tailored for its purpose.


#10

@starbuck that’s actually pretty neat :slight_smile:
Actually, I never thought that @nicole.faerber and her team should plan such a device now.
The foremost reason why I think it is worth thinking about it now, before the Librem 5 case gets finalized, is to future-proof it. I think it makes sense to spend some thought on how to design the Librem 5 case (and possible successors!) in a way that allows it to be “mounted” - generally speaking.
For example, there could be an (aesthetically pleasing) grove around the case, that makes it easy to create docks of any sort (the shell-laptop, a leather case, a desktop-dock…).


#11

I agree it makes sense to think of it before the phone actually gets released. I think we can agree on that fact that the use case must be considered, though not directly implemented by Purism (e.g. by creating a shell).

Even though the hardware part has some importance (i.e. facilitating the docking), I think the UX is also important to consider now in order to have a sane foundation for a “responsive” UI.

Still, Purism offering 24"+Librem 5 bundles, I do believe they already have that in mind :slight_smile:

Edit: quote below from the pre-order page

Enabling the path for a true convergence device, capable to work as a phone, making video and audio calls, encrypted messaging, email, web browser, that can also become a full desktop computer with an option for a compatible keyboard, mouse, and monitor. It can be a desktop computer and phone all-in-one.


#12

Hi,
thank you very much for your creativity :slight_smile: We really appreciate it since it shows to us what potential users would like to see and this helps us to sharpen our vision too.

Though I also have to point out that our possibilities to do such customizations are very limited. With the projected numbers of devices we are at the very low end of consumer device production which means that customizations are pretty expensive. We need to be very careful about our budget here.

But this does not mean that we can not try! We will, definitely, but I can not promise anything yet. What I can say though is that the convergence idea is deeply rooted in our development efforts.

Cheers
nicole


#13

Whoa, this is great news :slight_smile:

I’m the most FLOSS and privacy oriented both in my personnal and professionnal network, and when I talk about the Librem 5 around me, many people who “meh” the ethical sides of the phone are deeply interested in that convergence.

Again, that feature that was planned all along could be a success factor to get the Librem 5 out of its niche market, especially for nomad professionals.


#14

:smiley: i assume this is a huge understatement. from the numbers i would judge that the amount of phones you will order will be less than others order for prototyping and first tests… in fact i wonder you found a company for that anyway (which makes your project even cooler!)

but about the “convergence idea”, i dont see a use in that usecase. i want to have two devices separated out of good reasons. instead i use something to backup my data to my big-screen-with-keybaard-device (like with syncthing) instantly. that’s all i need. i do not want to carry all my data all day around with my phone.


#15

I’m a user of Nextcloud and Syncthing (for different purposes) to backup and share data between my devices, but there still is a use case for some people.

I work in a company where I have to bring my own (company-owned) laptop, and sometimes I have to carry the client’s one (or two clients’ laptops). Having even one less would be a huge plus for me.


#16

I think the first Librems were ordered in the hundreds, maybe 500. I would assume that 1000 phones would be doable, but not make economic sense, so the campaign targeted 2500. Now we are at 3250 preorders, going up by ~70 every month (Nov,Dec,Jan). So, even if that rate does not go up, we should have 4000 preorders end of 2018, but I would bet on 5000+ :crazy_face:
If they put some on stock, could be 10.000? That’d be cool :slight_smile: (every additional device to put on stock would probably only be an investment of $200…300)

But I think Nicole was rather referring to to potential of ordered shells. Obviously, that can only be a fraction of the phones, and that is the problem here. If 10% of the Librem 5 owners would care for a lapdock, it could work. And I see that potential. I could imagine 10 to 20% would be interested. So, after those first 10.000 units are sold, a crowd-funding campaign would make sense to explore that potential.

Well, that’s you. But I think many see that usecase. It’s just that for personal use many people don’t care much about workstation settings, which is partially reflected in the preorders with monitor (and some might use existing monitors). I turn on my workstation about twice a year.
Also, nobody says that all data has to be on the phone. Just what you need every day. I would dock my phone in the evening to do my browsing or writing documents.
You can still have additional data in the shell (cheapest solution: SD card in the shell) or on external drives, you could even auto-backup it every time it is docked.


#17

How about thinking in a different way? Use this laptop shell project to replace the Liberm 11 plan.
It is similar to EOMA68 Computing Devices.

Basically, instead of shipping Librem 11 with a weaker Intel CPU or some ARM CPU, just use the phone to power the device. It is an i.MX8 CPU, which is powerful enough for a tablet.

If the Librem 5 could become the trackpad, like Project Linda or hide in the side of the laptop shell like EOMA68, then it would be a convenient way to expand different type of customer or same customer with different need in different time in one go.

Or go even further, instead of creating a phone, create a compute device like EOMA68 and a phone shell for this device and create the laptop/tablet shell, replacing both Librem 5 and Librem 11.

I know Librem 5 is already in end of development, and change is not really possible. Just a thought, for future release. Don’t think it as a customization for the phone, but an integrated light computing platform, which could be in a form size of a phone, or form size of a tablet.