Acer recently announced at IFA a concept device that aims to extend the features of an Android smartphone. Acer Extend is a clamshell type dock that is composed of a keyboard, display, and a 6,000 mAh battery. It is works similarly to another product of the company, the Asus Padfone.
During the demo an Acer Liquid E2 was used to connect to the Extend. It uses an MHL cable to connect to the smartphone instead of docking directly such as the Padfone. Since what was presented is still a prototype the company reps said that the market ready version will come with a retractable cord. The company says that using a cable cord reduces lag and allows the smartphone to take a call.
The Extend is basically a laptop shell without a brain. This is where the smartphone comes in. Aside from providing a larger display it also provides a tactile keyboard that comes with buttons designed to work with the Android settings. There are dedicated buttons that can be used to control Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, call, text messaging, and browser among others.
As far as specifications goes little is known yet. There is no information on whether the display is a touch screen or not. There is however a 6,000 mAh battery under the keyboard which can be used to charge the smartphone. There’s also one USB 1.0 port to connect a mouse and one USB 2.0 port for thumb drives.
Any app that works on a connected smartphone will work on the Extend since it only mirrors the content of the phone. Typing documents using Quickoffice is now easy to do since the keyboard is very sturdy and easy to type on.
Acer Extend isn’t a confirmed product as of the moment however Acer announced that if it does indeed start commercial production then it will most likely be released in the first half of 2014 with an estimated retail price of €400 or roughly $530.