Samsung may have just revived the “Phone as your PC” idea with its DeX platform and it seems to have inspired another OEM to follow suit. Whispers are going around that Huawei, who now ranks as one of the world’s top three smartphone makers (depending on which market analyst you ask) is reportedly planning on a similar feature that will turn the upcoming Huawei Mate 10 into a PC desktop when connected to some peripherals. The difference, however, might be that, unlike Samsung DeX, Huawei’s implementation might work with other docks and connectors as well.
The idea of turning a phone into a regular desktop, give or take some limitations, isn’t exactly new. It goes all the way back with the very crude and unsurprisingly unsuccessful Motorola Atrix phone and “lapdock” combo in 2011. Since then, even heavyweights like Microsoft (Continuum) and Ubuntu makers Canonical (Convergence) took a stab at the idea with mixed results. That’s not to mention the other smaller projects and attempts at creating both software and hardware to make that happen.
The latest try is coming from Samsung with its DeX, and it might actually be the closest we’ve come so far. While rough edges and growing pains might be acceptable, at least for now, but one thing bars it from becoming a more popular implementation. Well actually two. One being the price of the only DeX-compatible smartphones (Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and the $1,000 Galaxy Note 8). The other is that it only “officially” works with the DeX Station, which is a circular dock that needs to be powered from a wall socket.
In this sense, Huawei’s unnamed version could have an edge. It is rumored to be compatible with existing docks, some of which might be more portable than others. This could ultimately make the Huawei Mate 10 desktop feature more accepted by users. Presuming you get a Huawei Mate 10, of course. The system will supposedly use DisplayPort, which might not be as common as HDMI. But an adapter for that is so much easier to get and bring along than an ultimately non-portable DeX Station.
This rumor seems to be corroborated by Yanis Anteur, CEO of Miraxess, who is making Mirabook, one such lapdock devices. Of course, it could also be taken as an advertisement for the device. All will be revealed in two weeks when Huawei finally unveils its “Real AI” “not a phone” Huawei Mate 10 flagship.