[Concept] What about a detachable with wireless display?


#1

In this thread, I will mostly discuss about the electronics rather than the physical aspect of the product. There are many great concepts for the physical aspect, and to be honest, they are much better than what I have ever imagined. There are several examples like this one below:

As the title says, the concept here allows for detachable design, such as the Surface Book, except with the CPU, GPU, RAM, and all the other core components on the base. The base communicates with the tablet portion with something like Miracast for transferring the display, audio, and touch control. So the tablet is merely a wireless monitor. It contains an LCD with some battery, wireless transceiver, and small power-efficient chip to handle the wireless transmission and 4K-ish image decoding (Snapdragon?)

What are the benefits compared to Surface Book approach?

  1. There is no need for exotic PCIe interconnect between the display and the base. Having PCIe interconnect could potentially create app compatibility issues, as well as requiring tight timing and reliable connector, both of which are very hard to pull off.

  2. Full GPU power when detached It also allows the display to be detached at any time, even when an intensive program is running.

  3. Thin, light tablet unit with long battery life. Since the tablet only contains a small ARM SoC with EEPROM, instead of Core i7 with NVMe SSD, it would use significantly less power, and therefore deliver long battery life and/or survive with small battery. The base unit can contain 99 Wh battery to ensure long battery life in intensive applications.

  4. Consistent battery life on the tablet unit. Since all the tablet unit does is to receive display and audio signal, as well as sending touch/pen signal, it is not affected by the workload (e.g. rendering, gaming). Display brightness and audio playback is probably the only thing that affects the tablet battery life. I am looking towards 500gr 15" device, which is unheard of.

  5. Solves the top-heavy issue on detachables As the tablet portion is light (see previous point), and most of the core components are located at the base, the weight distribution is closer to a normal laptop than a detachables.

  6. Upgradable: Financial win-win. In the long run, Eve could sell future base units for the users upgrading, while the user keep their tablet portions. From the consumer point of view, they are saving money since they don’t need to buy a new tablet unit (saving money on LCD, digitizer, etc.). From the manufacturer point of view, they are going to get more returning customers as the tablet unit will most likely be incompatible with base units from the competitors (e.g. Surface Book Performance Base).

Potential downsides:

  1. Input lag. No matter how good wireless is, it is hard to beat wired connection to the display. One option is to have the display switching to wired mode when attached (think of V keyboard), but handling the switching is also an entirely new challenge, which brings me to my next point.

  2. Wireless interference. While wireless display tech is getting more and more reliable, once again, it is hard to beat wired.

  3. Potentially high development cost and/or long development time. This is probably expected for developing something new, but then again, the reward will be worth it, in my opinion.

  4. Tablet can only be used within a certain distance from the base. As it is essentially just a wireless monitor, it will be a monitor only when the wireless is in range. This could potentially be an issue for people who were expecting the tablet to be working everywhere. This needs to be communicated properly prior and after the purchase

  5. Base unit needs a working backup display port in case of connection failure to the tablet. At least one display port of the base unit needs to be able to output the BIOS to an external monitor (via USB-C, HDMI, or DP), in case the tablet unit fails to connect. Most devices already have this (e.g. when the integrated display of your tablet/laptop is damaged), but just to keep in mind.


#2

For me there’s another benefit for this in future: The cpu/gpu base could also be used for a AR/VR headset. There will be a time where we don’t use monitors any more… And this is a step into this direction…