Superbook: Turn Your Smartphone Into a Laptop

I recently interviewed the founder/CEO of Superbook, Gordon Zheng. Here’s a little info about what Superbook is: “At its core, the Superbook is a smart laptop shell that provides a large screen, keyboard and multi-touch trackpad, 8+ hours of battery, and phone charging capabilities. When plugged into your Android smartphone, it launches our app to deliver the full laptop experience.”

Superbook was featured on Kickstarter, where it raised almost 3 million dollars. Watch this video featuring Gordon to learn more about Superbook. You can visit the Kickstarter for Superbook (and preorder it) here.

When did the idea of Superbook get started?
I got the idea for the Superbook two years ago, when I was working at Google. I wanted to do it as my 20% project – which is an old Google policy that basically allowed engineers to propose personal projects that they could work on in addition to their regular job. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!) Google rejected my idea – but I was adamant about pursuing it, so I left and then began work on the Andromium app. The Superbook idea didn’t actually come until later.
How many people are currently working on the team for Superbook?
We’re a team of 4, and 2 of us are full-time!

Were there a lot of obstacles to overcome to develop this technology?
Yes, it took us a long time to get both the software and hardware to be polished enough for the Kickstarter launch. We actually ran a Kickstarter campaign before the Superbook, and it was called the Andromeda dock—it didn’t achieve the funding goal. Besides that, there were just a lot of obstacles that many other startups face; there’s always a lot to do, but not always enough manpower to handle it all.
Have you worked on any other technology startups?
I worked on a project a long time ago at MIT for smart-city traffic and parking management.
Did you expect the Kickstarter campaign to have as much success as it did?
Definitely not! We were really blown away by the support that our campaign has received so far. This is only the beginning, and we’re really excited that we were met with such enthusiasm and interest from the public!
 
Is an iPhone version of Superbook a possibility in the future?
Sadly it’s not in the books. We talked with Apple over a year ago, they are not interested in working with us. Write Tim Cook and tell him about us!
What is the ideal Android phone to use with Superbook (the fastest/most powerful)?
Obviously the more RAM and the faster the processor, the better. It should have a Type-C port, and hardware-based navigation keys. So the Galaxy Note 7 would be perfect.
Will there be apps specifically designed for Superbook?
Yes, we have a SDK that developers can use to enhance their existing android app to be a first party app targeting Andromium OS.

Specifications for the Superbook

Will there be continued support and updates to the Andromium OS and Superbook for years to come?
Yes, definitely! We’ve been in public beta for the last 1.5 years, and as many of our users will attest, we have been rapidly improving both the performance and the UI of the app. Of course, there’s always work to be done, and we’re definitely looking to build the team up. So if you know of any stellar and experienced Android developers looking for a cool project to sink their teeth into…we’re definitely looking to hire a few!
What are your hopes for Superbook in the future?
We dream of a day, sometime in the near future, where we’ll only need to buy a single computing device—our smartphone—and everything else that requires computing power in our lives, whether that’s a laptop, gaming system, car infotainment system, or smarthome device, would just be an accessory to the smartphone. We see that a lot of that vision has already began to take shape, and we’re really excited to be a part of it!
Thanks to Gordon for the interview! I wish him the best of luck and look forward to trying out the Superbook (estimated release date March 2017). Don’t forget to subscribe to TheHighTechHobbyist’s newsletter to get updates on when more articles like this are published.