In short: The Japanese edition of PC Watch recently talked about a device from HTL Corporation that turns your Android or iOS smartphone into a laptop. The HTL WitH Notebook Display (Model SY-1238FT) looks like a regular notebook at first glance. It features a 13.3-inch IPS touchscreen (1920 x 1080 resolution) that can also be flipped back for use as a tablet.
Inside is a 5,000 mAh battery that can last over six hours, as well as plenty of ports for connecting phones or a game console. There’s even a microSD card reader for storage expansion.
Chassis measures 311mm x 210mm x 14.9mm and weighs 1.2kg or about 2.65lbs.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a hybrid laptop/smartphone concept. More than a decade ago, Motorola tried to do something similar with its Atrix 4G smartphone and the Webtop concept, but it never caught on. Asus thought along the same lines with its Padfone, a smartphone/tablet combo. Razer came up with something similar – albeit a little more advanced – in 2018 with Project Linda, but like most of Razer’s wild creations at CES, it never made it past the concept stage.
The HTL proposal differs from these earlier examples in that the companion smartphone does not physically connect directly to the laptop, but is connected via a cable. This removes proprietary hardware limitations and is more in line with Samsung DeX, but that still doesn’t mean it will be successful.
61,380 yen (about $450) for a machine that’s essentially a laptop shell is a tough deal, especially when you consider how far that budget can go when buying a full laptop. For example, Best Buy currently has Lenovo Yoga 13.3″ 2-in-1 laptop with Ryzen 5 5500U processor, 8GB memory and 256GB SSD for $449.99. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer this to an empty shell that needs to connect to my phone to be useful.
If you are firmly committed to the WitH device, Amazon Japan they are currently in stock and seem ready to ship worldwide.