Every year, PC maker Razer provides one of CES's big highlights by showcasing one or more inventive concept pieces. These have ranged from to , and while most of these will never move past the prototype stage, it's still fun to see people thinking innovatively about how to break free from traditional designs.
This year's concept piece is called Project Linda (the company insists its code-names all have significant meaning, but won't say exactly what that is). It's a familiar-looking 13-inch laptop, in fact it's nearly identical to the current Razer Blade Stealth ($1,400 at Amazon), one of our favorite slim 13-inch systems. But instead of a traditional Intel-inside PC, this is powered by the company's own Razer Phone, an Android device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU (which makes it similar to the first wave of Snapdragon-powered laptops from HP, Lenovo and others).
But rather than just sticking a smartphone processor in a laptop, Project Linda aims to blur the line between phone and laptop design by integrating the two together. The laptop half has a large, empty dock where the touchpad would normally be. It's exactly the right size to drop in a Razer Phone, the recently released high-end 5.7 device that's gotten excellent reviews, especially for its smooth 120Hz screen.
From there, you can use the phone screen as a touchpad, or as a second screen (and sometimes both at the same time).
"Project Linda combines the best of both worlds," said Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan, "bringing a larger screen and physical keyboard to the Android environment, enhancing the experience for gaming and productivity."
The laptop itself has a full-size Razer Chroma keyboard, with the same multi-million-color set of backlighting options, plus some keyboard layout tweaks specially for Android. Like the Razer Blade Stealth it's modeled on, it's a unibody aluminum chassis, and Razer says it weighs just under three pounds, including the phone. The 13.3-inch quad-HD display has the same high 120Hz refresh rate as the Razer Phone.
While the Razer Phone provides the brains of the system, from the processor to the RAM to the operating system and apps, there are a couple of extras built into the laptop dock. First is a 53.6Wh battery to augment the one in the phone, and second is 200GB of extra external storage. There's also an assortment of expected laptop features, like a 720p webcam, audio jack and USB-A and USB-C ports.
The "laptop dock for the phone" concept has been tried before, mostly unsuccessfully, but the time may be right now, with more powerful phones and a bigger selection of Android apps that are specifically formatted for larger screens (which you can see in action via devices like the or new with Google Play store support).
Right now, Razer says the concept is locked to the Razer Phone specifically, but there's no reason other smartphones couldn't hypothetically be used in the same way, at least as long as they fit into the touchpad slot on the wrist rest.
Of course, before you get too excited, like almost all of Razer's imaginative concepts, there's not even a hint of when this might be available to buy, or for how much.
: What to expect from laptops, desktops and tablets at CES this year.
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