Samsung has introduced the Galaxy Note 2 Smart Dock. The Smart Dock gives users the ability to attach a USB keyboard and mouse, as well as use a large screen device, and audio, offering a PC-like experience.
The dock features three USB ports, an HDMI out port, and a 3.5mm stereo audio jack. Power is delivered through a standard micro-USB port. No accessories are included with the dock, apart from a 2 amp micro-USB travel charger.
The Galaxy Note 2 is a large Android smartphone with a 5.5 inch HD screen that blurs the distinction between phone and tablet.
The dock is available for purchase at $99 from Samsung's online store.
This is not the first time that companion devices have been introduced to smartphones. So far, public reaction to smartphone peripherals has been mixed. Motorola recently discontinued Webtop, its laptop dock that was compatible with the Motorola ATRIX and BIONIC, due to lack of adoption. By contrast, ASUS announced its Padfone 2, a sequel of the original Padfone which slots into a 'tablet' case to give a bigger screen for a consumer to work on.
Samsung's approach is different to ASUS's Padfone and Motorola's WebTop. It has created a dock for the Galaxy Note II, with ports for a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor. This differs from the Padfone and WebTop, as it requires less hardware to be carried around while offering more flexibility. One use for the Smart Dock could be a permanent set up on a consumer's desk, allowing consumers to access all content on a large screen device at home or at work, as well as on the move. A second use for the Smart Dock could be a portable base, which a consumer would carry around to meetings, providing a non-wireless platform for presentations.
It is unlikely that the Smart Dock will sell in large numbers, as it's currently only compatible with one smartphone model the Note II and also because Samsung has not marketed it much to date. But this accessory is important in the post-PC era, because a dock demonstrates another capability of this in-between a smartphone and a tablet hybrid device.
As an alternative for a PC, the Smart Dock will struggle to compete on functionality but instead aims to compensate through highly convenient portability. In addition, the price point of $99 is about a sixth of the price of the handset, which if expensive for the functionality on offer.
However, strong interest in the Asus Padfone indicates consumers are willing to use a single device for two different purposes. By launching the Smart Dock, Samsung continues to experiment with different permutations for its smartphones and is showcasing what is possible with increasingly powerful smartphone components that Samsung is including in devices such as the Note 2.