Home Neptune Doubles Down On Dumb Screens Run By Smart Watches

Neptune Doubles Down On Dumb Screens Run By Smart Watches

The world is still figuring out why we need smartwatches in the first place, especially given that they aren’t much more than secretaries for our smartphones. But one tech company in Canada is pushing forward with an ambitious plan to make your wearable the center of your computing life.

See also: Smartwatch Innovation Runs Riot: Meet The Freaky-Fridayish Neptune Duo

With its latest announcement of the Neptune Suite, Quebec-based tech company Neptune promises that you’ll be able to control an army of screens right from your wrist. (Pretty much as ReadWrite noted last month.)

Pretty Suite: The Tab, Keys, Dongle, And Headset

In January, Neptune revealed the Duo, which paired a smartwatch and a dumbphone—the Hub and the Pocket Screen—into one unique, if odd, package. When I spoke with Neptune CEO Simon Tian, he revealed that the Duo was only the first part of the company’s larger vision:

Any screen can become yours as soon as you start using it. The Pocket Screen is the first of many other screens that will come very soon.

He wasn’t kidding about the “very soon.” Neptune’s Suite includes not just the Duo, but a 10-inch “Tab Screen,” a wireless keyboard, an HDMI streaming dongle and a set of wireless headphones.

The Neptune Dongle is a Chromecast for your wrist.

“The Duo was always only meant to be a soft launch for the Suite,” Tian explained via email. “It was never in our plans to ship the Duo first then unveil the Suite.”

The Neptune Keys

The new configuration of devices takes the concept of the Duo to the next level—and maybe a few levels beyond that. Like the 5-inch Pocket, the 10-inch Tab Screen is outfitted with a camera, and connects to the Hub via the so-new-it-may-still-bleed WiGig wireless standard rather than Bluetooth LE, a choice intended to yield ultra-fast responsiveness.

And again, the Tab sports a 7000 mAh battery, which Neptune envisions as a backup battery for the Hub should it get low on power. (Albeit one you have to plug into your wristband.) The new twist with the Tab is the addition of Neptune Keys, which connects to the Tab via Bluetooth and can hold the Tab in place to simulate a “full laptop experience.”

The Keys holds the Tab Screen in place to simulate a “laptop experience.”

It might be better described as a “full Chromebook experience,” however, since the brains of the operation, the Hub, runs Android Lollipop. Moreover, users will be restricted in terms of storage capacity and performance. With no internal storage of its own, the Tab and Keys is a laptop in looks only.

The Neptune Dongle will allow users to sling their Hubs to the screens that populate the rest of the world. Like a Chromecast, the Dongle plugs into an HDMI port on a computer monitor or television, which Neptune says will provide “a full desktop or smart TV experience.” The Neptune Headset, meanwhile, is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that can act as a charging cable to siphon juice from the Pocket or Hub should the Hub run low on power.

When not charging the Hub with the Pocket Screen’s battery power, the Neptune Headset actually charges your ears with sound.

Indiegogo Comes Calling

According to the company, Indiegogo was impressed with the 7,000 reservations Neptune had received for the Duo, not to mention the $750,000 in liquid cash they’d raised without the benefit of a crowdfunding site. So it offered to launch the Suite, Neptune says.


As of this writing, the Suite campaign boasts $841,525 in pledged funds, which is comprised of the money raised during the Duo’s independent campaign, and whatever has been raised via Indiegogo. Backers who pre-ordered the Duo will still receive the Hub and Pocket before the end of the year, but will also receive the entire Suite when that ships in February.

With a little under a month to go in the campaign, there’s plenty of time for Neptune to raise more funds for the Suite. However, as of now, it’s still something of a mystery as to how well any of the Suite’s devices will actually work.

It’s exciting to know that Neptune is forging ahead with its bold vision for the Hub and its companion screens. But it’s also entirely possible that by promising the full Suite before it’s even released the already ambitious Duo, Neptune might be biting off more than it can chew.

Images via Neptune

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