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NexDock second-screen offers an interesting take on the future of computing

Even though the rise of smartphones has left the PC industry in decline, that doesn’t mean people don’t miss big screens: it’s just often more convenient to use a small one. The best of both worlds would be having an as-you-need-it, bigger, more functional display and interface for your phone. And that’s what NexDock is looking to do, by having your phone power a laptop.

NexDock is currently crowd-funding a product (via WindowsCentral) that is essentially a “shell” of a laptop, comprising just a 14-inch display (with 1,366 x 768 resolution), a 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery, and a Bluetooth keyboard. The idea is that your phone provides the processing capabilities and software behind it all: you just plug your Windows 10 smartphone into the mini HDMI port and you’re off and running.

It doesn’t have to be a Windows 10 phone, but the Windows Continuum feature is what the NexDock touts as its premier method of connection. However, it can also offer expanded viewing to Android smartphones with the right wireless display adaptor. Or you can use a full-scale Android tablet over that same mini HDMI connector.

Related: 10 stylish iPhone stands and charging docks

The developers also suggest it would be a great addition to anyone who carries around a PC stick with them, offering an on-the-go solution, as well as a solution for when they find a typical display to plug it into. The same could go for micro-PCs like the Raspberry Pi, or the Intel NUCs that have been doing the rounds.

Of course none of this is necessarily groundbreaking in itself — people have had external displays for phones and tablets before — but what the developers want to do beyond this original NexDock campaign is very exciting. Expanding on the external display idea, they want to create a wide range of displays, with additional processing or graphical power, potentially with a plug and play-OS, that lets you choose exactly what you want your computer to be capable of, as and when you use it.

Still, if you want one in the meantime, they’re currently going for $100 for just the NexDock, or $120 if you’re reading this story a while after posting and all the “not too late,” models are gone.