Gaming hardware company Razer is known for going overboard with their CES prototypes, and none of them really make it to market, but maybe Project Linda will… What’s Linda, you ask?
On the second day of CES 2018 Razer presented a new prototype called Project Linda, which is a laptop dock for the Razer smartphone released in November last year. Unlike previous phone-powered laptop concepts like the Motorolla Atrix with Webtop and Samsung’s DeX, powered by the Galaxy S8, the Razer smartphone not only powers the laptop but doubles as a trackpad.
Snug, like a pug in an Ugg
The Razer phone slots into a smartphone-shaped well where a laptop’s trackpad typically sits. The phone slides into this slot and, with the press of a button, a USB-C connector is mechanically (and sneakily) inserted to dock the phone.
In terms of the laptop design, it looks very similar to the Razer Blade Stealth, but is designed based on the phone’s size which is 0.05-inches thicker, so the Razer Phone lies flush. Razer had to make a few other practical changes to Project Linda to accommodate the phone design,. There’s no power button, since the side-mounted power button / fingerprint sensor on the Razer Phone fills that role instead. There are also no speakers on the Project Linda hardware, since it is using the Razer Phone’s massive front-facing stereo speakers.
A few of the keyboard buttons have been swapped out for Android home, back, and multitasking buttons, along with dedicated app launcher and Google Assistant buttons.
An empty shell?
Project Linda is not just an empty shell waiting to be powered by its better half. It contributes a 1080p monitor, extra storage space (around 200GB in the current prototype) and extra batteries, along with a USB-A and USB-C port, one on either side.
One of the more useful features of Project Linda is the integrated power bank and extra batteries that will charge your phone while in use. The laptop base becomes a charging and storage hub once the Razer phone is docked, which makes it more practical.
From a performance point of view, the apps are said to run like they would on an Android tablet. We would keep in mind that most apps have not been optimized for this format, as this is still a prototype, but apparently everything runs as it would if it were being powered by the phone alone.
Razer plans to have the phone and the laptop work as independent screens when development is complete. Right now you are only able to have screen mirroring and to use the phone as a trackpad but we should see whether they achieve their aims when (or if) the project goes into production. Which we are not quite convinced will happen. But they made the Razer Phone a thing so there’s hope.
Many other companies have tried and failed with similar projects, but perhaps Razer has created a real contender in lapdocking systems. Right now it’s not slated for retail but if it leaves the prototype stages, you’ll be the first to know.