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The ClamBook: A laptop powered by your smartphone

You bring the "brain" (i.e. the phone); the ClamBook gives you the screen and keyboard. This could be a hot product come the holidays.

Holy sexy accessories, Batman!
Holy sexy accessories, Batman! ClamCase

Android phones and iPhones pack pretty powerful processors -- powerful enough, in fact, to deliver laptop-level performance, if only they had big screens and keyboards for your viewing and working pleasure.

Enter the ClamCase ClamBook, a kind of laptop extension for Android and iPhone.

It works like this: Your smartphone sits in a wired dock and drives the ClamBook's screen and keyboard. It's effectively your phone writ large, which could be great for everything from watching movies to playing games to working on documents.

The new MacBook Air? No, the ClamCase, which could potentially turn your smartphone into the next best thing.
The new MacBook Air? No, the ClamCase, which could potentially turn your smartphone into the next best thing. ClamCase

ClamCase isn't sharing a lot of details just yet, but here's what we know so far:

  • The 13.3-inch LED-backlit display has a 16:9 aspect ratio and WXGA resolution, which translates to 1,280 x 720 pixels.
  • To look at the ClamBook is to see something akin to a MacBook Air, and indeed the company notes that the former's "sleek and slim all-aluminum body is actually thinner" than Apple's featherweight laptop. But its actual weight and dimensions have yet to be disclosed. (I've asked the company for specifics and will update the post if they come through.)
  • The ClamBook has an island-style keyboard and multi-touch touchpad, with dedicated Android keys for functions like Home, Back, and Menu. It also has media-control keys: play, pause, and volume.
  • Its battery not only powers the screen, but also charges your phone while it's docked.
  • ClamCase promises "3D Cinema Sound," though it's not clear whether that's from speakers, headphones, or both. Looking at the 360-degree view of the ClamBook, the case doesn't appear to have any speakers.

Although ClamBook says the device is for iPhones and Android phones, there seems to be more focus on the latter at this point, as evidenced by the aforementioned Android keyboard keys and the nod to Motorola's Webtop app, which simulates a desktop OS -- when paired with Android.

So, will there be a slightly different model for iPhones? And will it simply provide a large, iPad-like view, or will there be a similar kind of desktop simulator?

These are key questions, to be sure, but I think the biggest one is price: how much will the ClamBook cost? I would love to see this come in at around $149, though I suspect it'll probably sell for twice as much. At that point, most folks would probably just buy a tablet and pair it with an external keyboard.

That said, the ClamBook could be a game-changer, a way to unleash smartphones' processing power in a slim, travel-friendly package. Hopefully we'll know more before the product ships in "holiday 2012."

What do you think? Is this something you'd buy? If so, what's a fair price? Share your thoughts in the comments!