Samsung’s DeX docking station gets revamped, turning a smartphone into a trackpad

If you were having any doubts about Samsung’s commitment to its DeX, consider them assuaged. The company introduced its smartphone docking hardware with the Galaxy S8 and has talked up a new version for every big phone release since then — and today’s big Galaxy S9 reveal is no different.

We were pretty lukewarm on the idea — or at least skeptical of how big a niche such a product really was. But to Samsung’s credit, the company been responding to user feedback and building it out since launch. This generation marks the biggest and most welcome change to the system thus far, including, notable a big shift in form factor.

The update cleverly shifts the dock’s orientation from vertical to horizon, so the phone lays flat when it’s plugged in. That means the handset gets to do double duty, both powering the desktop system and doubling as either a standalone touchpad or keyboard. The flat orientation as means the dock is compatible with a wider ranger of phone sizes.

That said, the new dock will only be capable with the S9 and S9+ at launch, with a software update that will make the hardware backward compatible coming soon. Certainly it would make sense to have the system compatible with the widest range of handsets possible, if the company is targeted shared office environments with the technology.

Samsung’s made some moves in that direction in this most recent update, allowing for more control from an IT department, including the ability to push a corporate logo on the desktop. Granted, the cost of buying a stationary DeX is a lot cheaper than outfitting every employee with both a smartphone and standalone laptop/desktop. Even so, the use for such a system still feels pretty limited in the real world.