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Galaxy S9 could pair with this rebooted Samsung accessory

The original turned the Galaxy S8 into a laptop replacement.

Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung may be updating more than just its phones. In addition to unveiling the Samsung Galaxy S9 at the end of the month, we could also see one of the Galaxy S8's most interesting accessories also get a refresh.

Unofficial renders of the DeX Pad appeared online, tweeted by frequent tipster Evan Blass. The image shows a flat pad that can hold a device, a likely follow-up to last year's Samsung DeX Dock, which connected the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 to a monitor for a desktop-like experience.

The Samsung DeX Pad should work very similarly to the DeX Dock, according to VentureBeat, except that while the DeX Pad is said to lie flat, the dock stood upright. A flat arrangement allows for the docked phone to be used as a touchpad or virtual keyboard. It isn't clear if the dock would have an Ethernet cable; the pad could connect through Wi-Fi or your phone's cellular connection.

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Samsung takes a risk pushing DeX as an accessory to transition the Galaxy S9 from a phone you use alongside other devices, to a laptop or tablet replacement. Previous attempts to turn the phone into a mobile workstation have failed. Microsoft had a much more complicated dock for the Lumia 950, Asus attempted to use its ZenFones to power a PadFone tablet, and Motorola attempted a Lapdock in 2011, powered by its Atrix 4G. Just this past January, Razer showed off a new laptop concept using its Razer Phone as the computing guts and a track pad. 

If Samsung can successfully innovate new ways to use a phone that go beyond the pocket, it can get ahead of its major competition, Apple and Google.

Assuming it's real, we expect to hear about the DeX Pad during Samsung's Galaxy S9 unveiling on Feb. 25. There's a possibility Samsung could bundle the DeX Pad as a free gift with Galaxy S9 preorders, like when it did with the Note 8 preorders.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.