The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ do two things; reasserts Samsung as a viable manufacturer after the Samsung Note 7 debacle, and ushers in the first serious attempt to make a smartphone a potential alternative to the desktop PC.
The Galaxy S8 offers the Dex dock. Slide the phone into the dock and voila! Connection to a screen, keyboard and mouse make it into a potential desktop replacement.
The hardware to do this isn’t new. But the success of the Dex and other similar products will be dependent on software. The on-screen experience for a smartphone is different to what we need for a tablet and different again for a desktop or notebook computer.
Apple is persisting with their approach where the experience on a 4-inch iPhone SE is very similar to that on a 12-inch iPad Pro. I use an iPad Pro when I travel, having ditched my MacBook Pro and while it fits most of my needs, there are times a mouse would be handy.
I haven’t tried the Dex yet but I’m curious. Anything I can do to reduce the number of devices I have to manage is a good thing. And if Samsung can get the user interface right then they will not only win over a few smartphone customers but also get the attention of IT managers looking to rationalise their PC fleet.