At their Unpacked event today, highlighted by the official announcement of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, Samsung also revealed some new technology to extend the usefulness of the smartphone moving from more of a product to a platform for computing. The new Samsung DeX is a dock that enables users to take their smartphone – the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are the only ones compatible for now – and use it as the hub for a desktop experience complete with monitor, keyboard and mouse.
The launch of the Samsung DeX may be seen as the flipside of the coin in which Google is working to enable Android apps to run on ChromeOS powered devices. Samsung is moving to the same place, a world where a user’s computers are converged onto a single device, from the opposite side by taking the smartphone and adding desktop capabilities to it. One big benefit to this is that users may be able to cut down on the number of computing devices they travel with or even own. As explained by Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications Business for Samsung Electronics,
“The smartphone has become the central point for the modern mobile professional, and when giving a presentation or editing documents remotely, it means they can work effectively using just their smartphone. We developed Samsung DeX with the highly mobile worker in mind, giving them a convenient and flexible desktop experience.”
The unit itself includes a pair of USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a USB Type-C port and a cooling fan. Incorporated within this hard is Adaptive Fast Charging (AFC) technology to charge a smartphone when it is in the unit. When a user sets their smartphone in the DeX, the user interface is displayed on a connected monitor. Samsung includes features so that the interface displayed on the big screen is more than just a mirror of what is on the smartphone screen. Users will find that they have support for use of a keyboard and a mouse for navigation along with the ability to open and resize windows. support for contextual menus, and access to a desktop version web browser.
The modifications to the interface when using the DeX go beyond the operating system. Samsung partnered with Microsoft and Adobe to bring desktop like functionality to their mobile apps when operating on a DeX. Samsung indicates they also partner with Citrix, VMware and Amazon Web Services to bring remote desktop functionality to the platform for those times when a user absolutely must use a Windows OS solution.