Clockwise, from top left: Palm Foleo, Motorola Atrix with Lapdock, Samsung Dex and Microsoft's Continuum

One of the more interesting accessories that Samsung introduced alongside its Galaxy S8 is something called the Dex — a small docking station that turns the new smartphone into a computer by connecting it to a monitor and keyboard. When plugged into display, Dex is capable of running multiple apps, including mobile versions of Office in resizable windows. But while it can render desktop pages in its browser, it can't do Flash.

Why it matters: While it makes theoretical sense to have a single device that can be a smartphone and then turn into a full-fledged computer as needed. In practice, such efforts have rarely been enough of a computer for those that really need one. If anyone ever gets it right, they could grab a nice chunk of the phone and computer market.

Some of the other devices that have tried:

  1. Palm Foleo (2007) - never shippedOn introducing it, Palm and Treo creator Jeff Hawkins called it the best idea he'd ever had. But the device, which turned a Treo into a computer, was canceled before it ever shipped.
  2. Motorola Atrix with Lapdock (2011) - very limited appealMotorola was the first to try the phone/laptop combo in the era of the modern smartphone, introducing the lapdock accessory alongside the Motorola Atrix, one of the early 4G phones. As others before and after it, the main issue was the fact that it couldn't really replace a PC in terms of either the breadth of software or performance.
  3. Microsoft Continuum (2015-present) - yet to prove itselfThis one is actually still around, but you need a Windows Phone to use it. With Windows 10, Microsoft opened the door for phones to become a Windows PC just by plugging the phone into a mouse and keyboard. The catch here is only new-style apps built for Windows 8 or later would run. And you had to use a Windows Phone.

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Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 21,295,429 — Total deaths: 767,714— Total recoveries: 13,295,750Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,345,610 — Total deaths: 169,146 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes — Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic — FDA issues emergency use authorization for Yale's saliva coronavirus test.
  4. Education: "Historic" laptop demand leads to shortages ahead of remote school — Why learning pods aren't a panacea for remote learning — The COVID-19 learning cliff.
  5. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  6. Podcasts: The rise of learning podsSpecial ed under pressure — Not enough laptops — The loss of learning.

The COVID-19 learning cliff

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Perhaps the most jarring reality of the COVID-19 pandemic for families has been the sudden and dramatic disruption to all levels of education, which is expected to have deep social and economic repercussions for years — if not decades — to come.

Why it matters: As millions of students are about to start the school year virtually, at least in part, experts fear students may fall off an educational cliff — missing key academic milestones, falling behind grade level and in some cases dropping out of the educational system altogether.

Postal slowdown threatens election breakdown

In 24 hours, signs of a pre-election postal slowdown have moved from the shadows to the spotlight, with evidence emerging all over the country that this isn't a just a potential threat, but is happening before our eyes.

Why it matters: If you're the Trump administration, and you're in charge of the federal government, remember that a Pew poll published in April found the Postal Service was viewed favorably by 91% of Americans.