Last year Lenovo announced a new accessory design system called the ThinkPad Stack, which is a stackable and interchangeable set of peripherals like batteries, routers and hard drives. This year it's expanding the program to include a new mobile projector and a Qi wireless charging pad to complete the stack.
First a touch of background. The ThinkPad Stack can connects several phone-size pieces by a series of strong magnets and passes data and power through each of the Stack components via pogo pins. They're completely interchangeable in any order or number you wish, so long as you have one of the units providing a battery or direct power to keep the whole stack together. It's a neat system, and one that opens up the door for future components, like the two unveiled here at CES 2016.
The first — and most expensive — is a full-blown portable projector unit. The mini projector offers 150 lumens of brightness and can throw a 720p image, and can be controlled by either a touchpad on the top or remotely from your nearby Android phone. It has an adjustable stand, integrated battery for a couple hours of use and a built-in speaker set. It can also combine with a speaker stack unit for a larger sound experience. The one downside here? The projector stack unit costs a cool $399 (hey, good projectors ain't cheap) — maybe an option for mobile professionals who need to do presentations, but that's about it.
The more interesting of the two new units is the Qi charger, which is a super thin unit meant to be the absolute top of the stack whenever you're setting it down for a bit. It pulls in power from the lower units — whether that's a 10000 mAh power pack or direct wall power — ands offers a Qi pad to power up one phone or tablet. The Qi charging stack unit will set you back $49.
While these two stack pieces themselves may not make up your mind on investing in the whole ThinkPad Stack idea, it may push you over the edge to considering it.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.