Abhimanyu GhoshalManaging Editor
Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].
Last month, we wrote about the upcoming Neptune Duo, a dual-device offering that included the Hub, a smartwatch capable of running Android Lollipop independently, and a phone-sized display accessory. The company is now offering a bunch of mobile devices to complement the Hub.
The Neptune Suite adds a tablet, keyboard, wireless headset and dongle to round out its original package. The idea is that with the wearable Hub, you’ll always have your primary smart device and data on you at all times — with the option to use whichever display accessory works best depending on your needs.
The Tab is a 10-inch touchscreen that includes a front-facing camera and a 7,000 mAh battery. It works similar to the Pocket screen, which doesn’t have a processor itself, but pairs with the Hub over an efficient new wireless protocol called WiGig.
The Neptune Keys keyboard can be attached to the Tab for a laptop-like computing experience, or used wirelessly with the HDMI-based Neptune Dongle that you can plug into a monitor or TV for a larger display.
The Headset wirelessly streams audio to its earphones, and can be worn as a necklace when not in use — the earbuds snap together with magnets to form a pendant of sorts. Neptune says it can also charge up to three devices simultaneously using power from a single outlet.
Given that we’re used to having our phones stream content to our smartwatches and external displays, Neptune’s concept might sound a bit odd. However, I think the company might indeed be on to something here.
For starters, you don’t really need to replace your phone and tablet’s screen every couple of years when their processor becomes outdated and slow. With the Neptune Suite, you could just get a new Hub and enjoy better performance across your devices.
Secondly, the Hub can be charged using the Pocket screen and Tab, while the Headset works a three-point charging cable. This way, you don’t have to worry about running low on power or have to carry a battery pack when you’re out and about.
Plus, the WiGig protocol used to beam content and input from the Hub to its accessories allows for transfer speeds of up to 7Gbps, so latency should be almost imperceptible.
Lastly, Neptune is offering the Suite at launch for the same price as the Duo — $599 at pre-order or $899 when it goes on sale. It garnered a fair amount of interest back when it offered just two devices, and has since crossed its Indiegogo campaign funding goal of $100,000 by over $600,000.
Neptune makes a watch-first computing setup sound plausible — but we’ll have to wait and see if the Hub can really keep up with users’ demands for performance in daily use.
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