From the forums: The BlackBerry Docklet concept - A good or bad idea?

By James Richardson on 13 Mar 2014 09:02 am EDT

Yep, it's concept time again, but this time with a twist. Forum member D_Gui has again been busy, although as you can see this one isn't a BlackBerry 10 smartphone. With this one we're back in tablet land so to speak. The idea with the Docklet concept is that the tablet itself doesn't have BlackBerry 10 software built in, but instead mimics your BlackBerry when you dock it. 

Whether we will see another tablet in any form from BlackBerry is still unknown, but I'm loving this idea, although if it did come to market I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cater for all BlackBerry 10 devices due to the different shapes and sizes. This form factor has been reasonably successful in the Android world but it's certainly not mainstream.

Plus, with the fact that we already have BlackBerry bridge to connect to the PlayBook is there even a need for the BlackBerry to be docked? There's pro's and con's on both sides. It's a pretty sweet idea and if the tablet itself isn't running an OS it could be cheap for Foxconn to manufacture - maybe. 

Or would you just want a PlayBook 2 and be happy with it running BlackBerry 10 with Bridge support? Hit up the poll below and cast your vote. 

Discuss more in the CrackBerry forums

Reader comments

From the forums: The BlackBerry Docklet concept - A good or bad idea?


So much rather have a Desktop client on my PC that will give me a "bridge" access to emails, tasks, calendar, contacts, BBM etc...

This actually a brilliant idea. Having a desktop application that could "Bridge" to our phones would be fantastic! I very much agree.

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10! 

I like the idea minus the physical docking required. Why can't I just keep my phone in my pocket and have it wirelessly mirror the screen?

So then I don't need a tablet - just a super thin screen that I can carry around.

Is this not what Miracast (?sp) is supposed to offer already?

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!

Miracast is for display and sound only. This concept would have to provide a bi-directional link so you could control your phone from the screen on the tablet.

I would like "control your phone from the screen on the tablet", but with a twist. I would like to have the "Tablet experience" and not "Phone experience". The idea is to have all the data and applications in the phone, use the processing power/memory of the phone, but to have a user experience depending upon the device being used to view the info. If through HDMI cable I am connected to a monitor and using USB mouse and key board, I would like to have a desktop/laptop experience. This would be my ultimate mobile computing device.... and it should not be physically connected.

Any touchscreen input on the concept could simply be translated like it's a large touchpad, and the signal sent back to the phone like any other external bluetooth input device.

Input feedback could also go over WiFi.

Overall, all we're really talking about is some close range VNC setup anyways, so nearly anything could be adopted. While Miracast is something various device makers adopted, it seems it wasn't implemented properly in the later Z10 models.

This I like, elements are there, can't wait for it to be delivered

Posted from my awesome HUB enabled  Z10

Love the concept, but then your comment had me think how amazing it would be to bridge my Z30 to my Home Theatre PC when in the house! Even to have it pop-up certain notifications similar to on the PlayBook.

Remind me never go to your house to watch a movie. I'm not interested in seeing your notifications pop up on a regular basis. That would be pretty annoying.

This is a great idea, toss in an antenna and a built in battery so users have the option to mirror wirelessly or dock it to recharge the phone and we could have a winner. Just make it another resolution for developers and it'll just be a matter of changing the UI for most apps since it's essentially using the phones hardware and everything for the app.

I can see this costing $100-150 and would definitely throw my money at it.

This us a cool idea I been saying this for a while but instead make it in a laptop u dock your phone in and all your info is there unplug the phone take you info with you, but that phone will need a huge hard drive

Posted via CB10

The sheer weight and thickness it would take to make this would all but negate any real advantage of using it as a tablet. Nice idea, but a bridge type system still makes a lot more sense.

Actually since it barely houses anything, it should be about 5mm thick. Nexus 7 (2013) weighs 290g, take out all the heavy inyards, add a 137g smartphone and the total weight should be about 338g, which is what the LG G Pad 8.3 weights...

I'd love to see BBRY make a tablet similar to the MS Surface but running BB10. I love the smart cover and the MS apps that the Surface runs but am not super excited about the Windows 8 experience. It certainly isn't bad, I just love BB10 much more. If BBRY would be a PB2 similar to a Surface 2 with native Office and a smart cover/keyboard, it would be the perfect device IMO.

Posted via CB10 from my amazing Q10

Agree, I like the design of the Surface, along with the detachable covers. I don't mind the Win8 experience myself, but would probably love a similar design/accessory combo centered on BlackBerry.

I like the idea in the future of BlackBerry concept video. This is an old one, maybe you forget. It's about tablets or monitors just mimic the phone but not connect physically. I really likes this idea, the same that Corning put in the video "A Day Made of Glass". I don't like the idea of physically connect the phone with the tablet, that Asus did.
Second BlackBerry Bridge not really mimic the phone, it's really limited. I can't see my BlackBerry 10 videos in the Playbook.

God Bless You!

Posted via CB10

I like the idea, just concerned a bit about battery consumption and the build quality of something like that.
Btw, please work on having the polls be more usable from the Q10 CB10 app.

Posted via CB10

I haven't been able to figure out why this would be a good idea. Ignoring the fact that people aren't going to want their £600 phones getting scratches all down the sides and probably the screen as well from pushing them in and out of a docking thing, I just don't think people will care about it. People generally want their tablets to be like a laptop, and not like a phone.

BlackBerry should work on building a high performance tablet - one that has full, laptop-like capabilities AND full phone capabilities. It's simple really. This docking stuff is NOT going to catch on. I'll call that one now - not a chance. Build a high-powered tablet with full mobile phone capabilities, and perhaps a mini projector, if possible.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

I agree with the not wanting to scratch my phone up. And having a case wouldn't help anything too. At this point they should be able to mirror without having the phone physically shoved into a tablet.


There should be an Option 4 - Have landscape support for all BB10 phones (via HDMI Multimedia Dock for the Z10 and Full screen, landscape orientated Miracast support for Q5, Q10, Z30 and P'9982 - not the portrait orientation support it currently has)

I may be completely wrong, but I just think this bridging stuff is pointless. It's a chase after obsolete technology. Forget bridging and do real-time syncing instead. Most people won't care one bit about bridging and will want a tablet that blows the iPad away in performance, or they will just get an iPad.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

Real-time syncing requires both devices to have an active, reliable Internet connection. In the real world, this isn't possible all the time.

I like the bridge and dock concept because it makes the mobile device that everyone carries with them most of the time the master hub for information.

I'd personally invest in a 7" and 10" version of the above that connected with my device via a reliable, secure, high-speed wireless connection. That way I could leave my device connected to a charger for the majority of my day and use the mirror to interact with my device and access the Internet.

Posted via CB10

Q: What's the most useless thing sitting on your living room table?
A: Your docklet screen when you are gone with your smartphone.

Wouldn't it be nice if you spent that extra $100 and gotten a real tablet? Then someone could actually use it as a tablet and you could still use your phone - simultaneously! Maybe they could even text you from the tablet. I know it's a novel concept.

$100 or even $250 will not buy you a "real tablet" that can replace a laptop computer. My Z10 replaces my laptop for 90% of my needs. I've discovered I prefer composing emails on my Z10 over my laptop, something I didn't think possible 6 months ago.

A BB10 dock with a browser, wifi, and blue tooth keyboard and touchpad that retailed for less than $200 would be a valuable tool that could replace my laptop for 95% to 98% of my needs.

Posted via CB10

$200 for a dock screen, battery, and keyboard? Sounds like more like $300. Add my extra $100 and you can get a great tablet like an iPad Mini or an iPad 2

I really like this idea as it acknowledges the primary reason people buy a tablet (bigger screen). Seamless integration across platforms is the key, bridge on steroids. Then you can strip the tablet to its basic elements and get rid of the hardware clutter like cameras. At 100 dollars it would be a cost effective way of giving people a tablet experience. Think of it as a peripheral.

Posted via CB10

Good but it's exactly like ASUS Padfone.

Didnt ASUS already patent this?

Posted via CB10

Blackberry need to fix the interface on bb10 to better handle larger screens and work in landscape mode. I dream of a companion device like this.

Posted via CB10

PB gave me a bad taste .. never coming up to expectation, it is a product that was replaced in my home by a Z10

So basically having a battery powered computer monitor...waste of time imo.

If BlackBerry did this it would be a complete flop.

Such a minor group of people would actually buy such a tool.

Posted via my Z30

I don't understand y are these designs given importance!
BlackBerry smartphones are supposed to look "classy " and not try to look "cool"! That's what Samsung and apple do! Not BlackBerry!

Posted via CB10

You can always mix classy and cool, but i do agree that this is re-inventing the wheel! we already have bridge and it is a damn good tool! this is a pointless. Just imagine how heavy this thing would be.

Actually since it barely houses anything, it should be quite light. Nexus 7 (2013) weighs 290g, take out all the heavy inyards, add a 137g smartphone and the total weight should be about 338g, which is what the LG G Pad 8.3 weights...

Why is there e need to physically "dock" my smartphone to it?
Our device have different shapes and form factor, this will make it difficult to fit everyone and newly release devices.

I want that concept, but using a "wireless" link between my device and my "dummy smart" screen.

For me I still don't understand why nothing have been done yet to reuse the existing PlayBook for that. It's already there and quite sure it have enough power to handle that replication needs.
We just need BlackBerry to program something to support that.

Powered by BlackBerry via CB10

It's same thing if you create a dumb screen, screen plus battery with miracast. Change the OS to be slightly more desktopy when in this mode and voila, kill the laptop and desktop market in one fell swoop.

Turn up to office link to screen blue tooth keyboard and mouse, and you're off.

Posted via CB10

Give me a BT USB for my laptop and let my Zed and PB bridge to the laptop, give us BBM on Windows (I suppose those Mac users to) and I'd be set.

Having said that, I'd take a dock for charging and video call use as it sits beside my laptop.

From my Vader Zed

As others have mentioned, ASUS has already tried this with no big success. I think a dummy tablet with BlackBerry Bridge on crack (or mirroring capabilities) with a BB10 device as the heart and soul is the way to go. The BB10 device should just have a tablet/desktop mode that would optimize it when paired with a bigger screen.

Awesome idea if the phone can be charged at the same time.

With support of miracast, the phone-tablet can be even more efficient.

Posted via CB10

They would be restricting the customer base to only those who own BlackBerry 10 phones. That's silly. I could see it working if they could sell it for £50 (GBP) in which case most bb10 users might get one.

I have also had a similar idea, called it a "dumb tablet" though lol. Miracast to the tablet to share the BlackBerry phone screen, but you control the phone from the dumb tablet screen. When not connected, the tablet foes nothing, or maybe can work as a digital picture frame, cost 79$.

Think it would be a pretty cool concept and might help take over the digital picture frame market lol, not sure how much profit there is in that industry but doesn't seem like much.

Posted via CB10

Mimic is not ideal.
I just want the dock to be an extention of the screen, i.e. mobile computing. the dock if possible is just power and HDMI, so the phone needs to do docked horizontally down. i.e. i can dock a Z10 or Z30. the screen would just be bigger for media and web page consumption.

I would be happy if I had a complete bridge to my PlayBook with BB10. I still love my PlayBook. How about showing some love to us loyal customers.

Posted via CB10

The concept falls apart in practical terms. The "docklet" requires heavy demands on the BlackBerry device so battery life will become a significant issue. I much prefer the Bridge concept as it offers similar features, but it can be turned off allowing the tablet can stand on its own.

This concept is very neat actually it was what I was thinking too! Seems like a logical course and evolution to the tablet.

Why not make the Bridge the "OS" of the new PlayBook? Super thin, loads of memory to run anything from your phone?

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

The new phones would have plenty of horsepower to run something like this.
I'd like to go further. Make it a device that could either dock, or connect by Bluetooth, and allow the phone to multitask. For example, browse the Internet on the phone, while composing an email on the tablet/screen.
I'd want the tablet/docklet/whatever we call it, to also have a keyboard accessory. ... Essentially something that could function as a small laptop, running everything off the phone.

Would love just a BB10 Tablet that allows me to run HD apps (that use the whole screen) or phone apps (Z10 or Z30 size window). The iPad allowed you to run phone-size apps on it, but they were in a screen emulator in the middle of the tablet (you can hit 2x to make it bigger). If the app developer only built a phone screen factor, then I could choose to install one of those apps on the tablet.

That's one thing I liked about the iPad -- if the developer didn't want to make an HD version, I can still use the phone-scale one (eg: D-Link's camera app).

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Add some secure cloud services to sync my data between the devices and I'm a happy camper.

This would make for a good compromise device since we probably won't see a tablet any time soon.

Posted via Z30 C0002FDEF

Sure. A friend's wife uses her iPad for her work from home desktop. A keyboard, mouse, and monitor and you're all set.

Posted via CB10

People seem to worry about weight, but let's take the similar sized Nexus 7 (2013) which weighs 290g, take all the unnecessary hardware out, add your Z10 that weighs 137g and it weighs about 338g, which is what a LG G Pad 8.3 weighs. Still less than all 10-inch tablets.

Wirelessly connecting was an idea, but it would be a battery hog and would require more hardware on the 'dock'. If it's physically connected, the Docklet can charge your device too. The whole idea of a tablet is having a little more than a smartphone experience, on a bigger screen, but BlackBerry 10 is already more than your average smartphone...

Why pay $300-500 for a tablet and another $500 for a smartphone, when you can pay $150-200 for the dock and add the smartphone for $500, cuts costs...

Nice concept, the only problem that I noticed is that is the ability to use it with different phone models i.e. Z10, Z30, Q10, etc, I needs an adaptor for each phone model.

Posted via CB10

My original idea was flexible rubber sides to accommodate larger devices such as the Z30.

I would kill for this! The device should be cheaper than a stand alone tablet and it could charge the device while docked! Only issue I see is a lot of the current blackberries couldn't support it if the screen was to be a higher resolution. I haven't seen any adreno 225 or 305 run past 720p resolution, and I would certainly want a tablet dock to be 1080p so I am not sure how the performance would be if those GPUs could support it at all. The Z30 would be able to handle it, but that's only one device.

Posted via CB10 COULD fit different size phones if the concept housed an expandable slider of some sort on the dock itself, then all different phones could work with it.

My original idea was flexible rubber sides to accommodate larger devices such as the Z30...

Tablets are a waste of time now. When the iPad was released they served as a good intermediate device between a computer and a phone. Inexpensive ultrabooks like the MacBook Air and their PC knock-offs with Windows 8 eliminate the need. There is nothing useful that I can't do on my phone that I can on a tablet. And with the amazing keyboard of my Q10, and Z10 before it, my phone is better for communicating than a tablet could ever be. What I cannot do on my phone is development work and content creation, I cannot do that on a tablet either unless it is a Surface-Pro with a proper keyboard and mouse. Ultrabooks have the same advantages as the iPad had, instant-on, light-weight, Portable and they come with a built in stand that doubles as a keyboard/mouse. Tablets are good for niche applications like cash registers, restaurant menus, doctor clip boards...

Our devices (and especially the Z30) are a real powerhouse already. Couple that with a larger screen, keyboard, mouse and you've already got the makings of a very portable office.

There are still some applications that Windows (or MAC) can do that I need daily - but for Communications (email, SMS, BBM, voice, Web) my BlackBerry is my main tool already.

Same with me! I will sometimes reply to emails using my Q10 while sitting at my computer. But my actual job requires a desktop not a large-screen phone (tablet).

One processor is the future. Soon we will have a phone that we carry around and plug into other devices, screen for a tablet, a clam shell for a laptop or a keyboard for a desktop. When we're done we take our phones and let someone else use the screen.

Posted via CB10


You forgot to add a poll question:

• I want both options to chose from!

We have been talking about a 'dumb tablet' idea for a year now, so I still like that idea, as an option.

BlackBerry: let the consumer choose; offer both!

Tablets have a hugh drop in price over the last 3 years. I don't understand the need for a dumb tablet unless, it sells for $20-$30.
There is a company that is trying to get their $37 tablet down to $20.

Just that "Hell yeah -..." option might be a bit offensive for some. There is no love in hell....

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

You want to be able to bridge any tablet securely to your phone. I don't see the need to bridge a desktop since that would mean I am not mobile and already have access to email and browser on my desktop. That is assuming they give me BBM support on desktop. If i needed everything on my handheld on desktop I could just plug phone into monitor.

Posted with my Z10

I would prefer a docked Laptop design. That would be an awesome idea ! And as BlackBerry has acquired a patent in this way it would be great to see this happen ! I would love to hook up my Z10 to a bigger screen, with a full Keyboard, more processing power, linger battery life !

Posted via CB10

At this point, neither something like this or a playbook 2 interests me, what i'd actually like would be for them to recognise that ios and android are the big players in the tablet market and bring out fully-featured version of bridge for those platforms.

This concept is a step in a direction I think would be very popular, instead of owning these cheap (maybe / hopefully) they would be used as a replacement for headrest displays in airplanes, interactive and usable instead of laptop or tablets, obviously safer than having those out during flight, and more comfortable. They could also show up in coffee shops or other retail outlets as shopping guides ?

Posted via CB10

this is the only way we will see a tablet come to blackberrry. They arent going to spend money on something that makes no business sense. This would be in effect just a phone with a bigger screen. You wouldnt have to do much the thing they really need to do is have access to the phone from anywhere. TV, tablet or computer. this would really make more sense. then have the highest possible build specs so this can in effect be a replacement for a laptop. I just think the tablet is really only a half step its not a laptop in specs and its not a phone in size. So better to use the brain of the phone and the screen of anything else. That would be the business case. The tablet by itself just makes no sense. Its a half measure.

By my estimates it would cost about $70-75 to manufacture, so we can look at a retail price of about $99...

Doesn't need to have all the spec and bells and whistles (processor, memory, etc.) - just a proper fully functional bridge similar to Miracast with display and sound but with a bi-directional input so you could control the functionality of your phone from the screen on the tablet, using the tablet as a touch display and keeping the processor, memory, etc. in the handset.

It should have aspect ratio of 16:9 (mirroring the z30 format but with a minimum resolution of 1920x1080 - is 4k a possibility at this stage or is the cost too prohibitive?

The same great speakers / sound we have with PB1 and the Z30.

No, the tablet should have a different UI that's more capable to make better use of the space. It should be able to have snapped tiles for multi-tasking etc.

I see what you're saying and agree with the need for that sort of transition, but I don’t think it would be hard to make it work.

Posted via CB10

I just need a BlackBerry tablet. I would prefer a bridged PlayBook 2... I would take even a docklet tablet.

I've been wanting that concept since I had my Palm IIIC back in 2002. The device should be the core and the tablet is the accessory. Back then I was thinking physical dock, but it could be a BT or NFC "dock". The core device would be where the computing and storage resides, and the accessory would be the larger display, headset, keyboard, etc.

Posted via CB10