The changing face of technology and mobile electronics in particular means that today a cellphone has the capability to write, save and send entire drafts worth of writing. They can play richly colored high definition movies and process huge amounts of gaming data. The only problem is that screens are smaller than a tablet and so are the keyboards. Until now.
John Andrus of Livi Design is currently kickstarting a project using the power of the smart phone called the Casetop. Relying on the mass availability of smartphones, the Casetop is a 12 inch screen connected to a laptop battery that is missing the processor. The smartphone is then plugged into an existing series of adapters in the Casetop sliding frontbar and becomes the processor for this on the go smart device. Smaller than a traditional laptop, while still using a 720p resolution screen and charging the smart phone while in use, the Casetop changes the way consumers use computer technology at home, at the office or on the go.
Toonari Post was able to contact John Andrus about his project.
Toonari Post (TP): Give us more detail into what your product does. You’ve said online that you want to replace the net book?
John Andrus (JA): The Casetop replaces a normal laptop for the majority of the population, and unlike laptops it’s completely upgradable. Simply buy a new phone and you have just upgraded your Casetop for free! No normal laptop lets you do that, and certainly no netbook. Apple doesn’t even let you upgrade the memory on its new laptops! It also replaces extended batteries, as 30 hours of battery life is 15 TIMES the life of a standard laptop. And it lasts 3-4 TIMES longer then a laptop. You can use it for around 10 years! All for $250? That’s why we say it’s inexpensive.
TP: What are the dimensions of the standard front bar version as opposed to a side mounted version?
JA: The dimensions are the same in all areas, except the side mounted version adds 4-5mm on the bottom of the Casetop and 1mm to the side (when closed). 152 more mm when open on the side.
TP: Would a side mounted version require a heavy redesign to move the ports around?
JA: No, the side mounted version simply requires a new Frontbar (which you can choose for free). The cables will reach all areas, and have been designed to support side mounted Frontbars.
TP: You’ve mentioned sustainability, education and businesses that will be impacted. What are the real world applications for the Casetop?
JA: 1. Note taking, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and other business applications work perfectly on the Casetop, but your mobility is increased a lot. It’s lighter than some notebooks, and if you don’t have to carry any powercords or anything, it’s a lot easier to manage.
2. You can watch close to 9 movies without charging! Camping anyone?
3. Charge your phone away from the mains power. If you’re in the bush, charge your phone every evening if you wish, it’ll give you at least 6 FULL charges from empty.
4. Sustainability: Reducing E-Waste is the number one thing the Casetop does. No more netbooks being thrown out after 2 years, this causes a ton of e-waste. If you use the Casetop for even just 8 years, you have saved 3 additional laptops from landfills.
5. Sustainability: Less waste by not being obsolete. You can upgrade your phone and not throw out any Casetop accessories or the Casetop. That’s big.
TP: What do you envision Casetop doing for the future of technology?
JA: 1. I believe the Casetop will force manufacturers to think of the consumer and reducing e-waste again. Apple doesn’t even allow memory upgrades any more, and doesn’t let you replace the battery!
2. People will assume that universal accessories are possible, and wanted. Manufacturers will try to maintain standards, like TV manufacturers do.
3. Cars can integrate the technology for storing radio settings, seat settings, power limits for teenagers all into your phone using the same technology.
4. New versions of the Casetop could fold into a fraction of its size to fit in your pocket, and we have that technology today.
TP: What keyboard options are being considered at this time?
JA: 1. QWERTY
3. Other keyboard types that have the same key locations as QWERTY, with stickers.
TP: How does the Casetop charge its large 6 cell laptop style battery? How long will it take to charge?
JA: The Casetop will take at least 2 hours to charge with our laptop-style barrel-type charger. This can be improved in the future, and we may work on that for the Kickstarter Backer versions. We actually have 10 prismatic cells, so we can possibly charge each cell simultaneously. This means 1 hour tops.
TP: I’d still like to have more concrete answers as to how big Casetop is. Is it a 12 inch or 14 inch screen?
JA: The Casetop is going to be almost as thin as a macbook air, and it’s an 11.1 inch screen, so probably a 12 inch bag is good.
TP: What options are you currently considering for the pro models?
JA: We are considering thicker plastic, more metal in the construction, we are also looking at more cables and longer cables too. And black. Perhaps an extra Frontbar if we can swing it.
Part 2 of our interview with John Andrus talks about how the Casetop is designed for durability, production time frames and future-proofing the Casetop design.