samsung dex
Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

Samsung has a deep history of testing wild ideas with new products and features. There were the “touchless” controls in the Galaxy S4. Curved TVs that are more expensive without adding much of a benefit. Even refrigerators with tablet computers built into the door.

Samsung’s latest trick: turning your smartphone into a full-on desktop computer. That trick is also tied to the very obvious question: “Why would I need that?”

The theory is that smartphones are so powerful that they’re the only computer you need in many cases. So why not create a way to make it that one-gadget-to-rule-them-all?

This isn’t a new concept. Microsoft gave it a shot with the Continuum feature built into Windows 10 Phones. But since no one really has a Windows Phone these days, the feature went nowhere. And Motorola even tried it way back in 2011 with the Atrix, an Android phone that could power a laptop.

Samsung is giving the idea another go with DeX, a $150 dock for the Galaxy S8 that lets you attach a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and run a lightweight, custom desktop operating system.

samsung dex
Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

At first glance, it looks very familiar. There’s a desktop with wallpaper, app icons, and a mouse pointer for navigating. If you weren’t paying attention you’d think you were looking at a Mac desktop screen.

But this is an entirely different kind of…