In the Linux community, there is a longstanding trope aptly referred to as “The Year of The Linux Desktop” in which everyone predicts the year that the Linux desktop usage rates are the majority instead of the minority for typical home users. It is no secret that Microsoft has been hemorrhaging Windows users to MacOS, iPads, Android Tablets and even ChromeOS at a high rate, mostly due to the fact that the typical home users computer needs have vastly changed over the past few years to be more “browser-centric”. Many companies have tried to push Linux desktops as a alternative to Windows however they often failed, ChromeOS was the first consumer Linux distribution to see widespread home usage and widespread education usage. I would argue that 2020 may have been the year of the Linux Desktop, especially with many schools issuing Chromebooks to students for remote learning due to COVID however I feel that Android might be next.
Samsung announced a new feature with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, the ability to access Samsung Dex on a Windows or MacOS device. This in my opinion was a game changer as it could allow users to use the insane power of their Galaxy Note 10/Note 10+ devices on inexpensive hardware. Samsung released a client for MacOS and Windows but as usual left us ChromeOS/Linux users out in the cold. It turns out that there is indeed a way to use Samsung Dex on Linux and X64 Chromebooks like the Pixelbook (Affiliate Link), Pixelbook Go (Affiliate Link) or even Samsung’s own line of Chromebooks, It does need a bit of inexpensive hardware and WiFi to setup .
When Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 plus, they dropped a massive update to Samsung Dex that allows you to access Dex on your Windows or MacOS PC by simply installing a companion application on your computer and plugging in your phone. For those who are not familiar with Samsung Dex, it turns supported phones into a fully deatured desktop computer. You can launch multiple applications in windowed mode and as long as you have a signal on your phone, you can always be online. While Dex on Windows/MacOS is a impressive evolution of the technology, it is currently not as feature rich as using a Native Dex Dock. Here is how they stack up.
If you are the owner of a modern Ultra-Portable Laptop such as the Google Pixelbook, you likely already carry a USB Type C hub to allow you to connect to classic USB devices. Most USB Type C hubs often pack features such as USB-PD Pass-through and HDMI output to allow you to use the hub as a docking station when you need to share your laptop to a full size display. I have a growing collection of USB Type C Hubs and when I got my hands on the MINIX NEO Storage Type C Hub, I could definitely say that it stands out from the others by packing a 250 GB M.2 SSD inside.
Many people say cell phones are like mini computers in your pocket however as the Galaxy Note 9 is a powerhouse that can run circles around most people’s laptops, I have to disagree and say that the Note 9 is a computer in your pocket. The HP Elite Laptop Dock was a premium accessory for a mobile phone that really did not sell well, this phone was the HP Elete X3. The Laptop Dock was specifically made to show off the Windows Mobile “continuum” feature to allow business customers to access a (almost) full Windows 10 Desktop while on the road by simply connecting the laptop dock to your HP Elite X3 phone via a simple USB Type C cable. As phone did not sell well and has since been discontinued, the price of these laptop docks have fallen sharply and this laptop dock works perfectly with Samsung Dex – if you have a Note 9 or Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
A few weeks ago, I posted a teaser to the Samsung DexTop and aside from a short YouTube video showing it in action, I have been pretty quiet. I wanted to provide a short update on the current status of the Samsung DexTop.
While watching the Samsung Note 8 Announcement last month, I felt that Samsung really missed the mark when it came to promoting Dex from a cool gimmick to a truly useful tool. I have owned a Dex Dock since it was released and I can really see how well it shows off the real power of the Galaxy 8 line of phones and Android as whole. I really wish that Samsung announced a Motorola Atrix style Laptop Dock for Dex along with the Note 8. Rather than take to the Twitterverse and complain, I decided to use my imagination and maker skills and do something about it. This is the first in a series of posts that I will make on this website to document the steps I am taking to build this DexTop. I will be publishing all of the steps needed and even the STL files for 3D printing as soon as I have everything done so you can build your own.