28.11.2009 06:05

Zemno unveils its new docking bay, could it be the new USB Pet Rock?

Category: accessories
By: morgan jones

The DeskBook Pro increases storage capacity and the number of ports available to notebook users

Zemno LLC has announced the pending release of a revolutionary docking bay for notebooks, called 'DeskBook Pro'. Zemno aims to sell the docking bay primarily to Mac owners, but it claims that the DeskBook Pro is compatible with PCs. The DeskBook features several ports, such as 7 USB 2.0 ports and a Flash Card Reader. An extra monitor can be connected to the DeskBook's DVI port, allowing resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080.

Apparently any PC or Mac notebook with FireWire and USB capabilities and up to 15” in size, can connect to the DeskBook Pro and take advantage of its extensive I/O interface. Zemno claims that the DeskBook Pro 'is the first docking station to allow internal connection of hard drives, batteries and peripherals'. Using a unique technology, dubbed 'ModBays', one can dock up to two 500GB hard drives simultaneously to the DeskBook, 'or any combination of hard drive, battery, or peripheral device, such as an iPod.'

The ModBays are battery powered, consequently Zemno claims that the DeskBook Pro is 'the world's first self-powered, portable, modular docking station.' Here are the technical specifications for the DeskBook Pro, taken from Zemno's website:-

I/O Interface


7 USB ports

3 FireWire 800 ports

1 FireWire 400 port

1 DVI out

1 Audio 1/8” line in

1 Audio 1/8” line out

1 eSATA Data port

1 eSATA Power port

1 Ethernet

Flash Card Reader

Size & Weight

28mm x 364mm x 249mm (HWD)

Weight without ModBays: 1.3kg

Weight with ModBays: 1.82kg

Whilst I appreciate the dramatic increase in connections and storage capacity such a device provides to a notebook owner, I can't quite see the point of it. Most notebooks provide adequate USB connectivity, and with Bluetooth and wireless devices becoming increasingly common, as well as the ability to plug any notebook into a mains power supply, the DeskBook Pro seems redundant. Netbooks with HDMI ports are now appearing on the market, so situations where UMPC owners lack connection options or storage, should be few and far between. In any case I would think such situations would not be frequent enough to warrant paying for a DeskBook Pro.

Zemno suggests that a DeskBook Pro owner could 'ditch' their desktop, because of the '16 ports and connections...and unlimited data storage options' that the docking bay provides. This is certainly a drastic suggestion, I can't see why a notebook owner would want to give up the convenience of, say, a wireless connection in their home, which they can use to transfer data to their desktop and other devices.

Zemno also suggests that users can take the DeskBook Pro, along with their notebook, for use whilst mobile. Aside from adding around a kg and a half to one's load, the DeskBook Pro will also allow users to 'take desktop capabilities' with them when they are mobile. I think Zemno have overlooked the fact that this docking bay, is essentially, nothing more than that – it certainly doesn't increase a notebook's processing power, screen size, keyboard size, or increase its battery life significantly. It just enables people to add even more battery-draining devices to their connected system, and make their arms tire quicker whilst moving around.

Customers can pre-order the DeskBook Pro from Zemno's website for $499.99 USD. The 500GB hard drives used with the docking bay cost $129.99 USD, and a battery module costs $99.99 USD. All prices exclude taxes and shipping. One battery module can keep the DeskBook charged for up to 2.5 hours, and apparently two battery modules will double this figure. Zemno state that their new product is expected to ship during the last week of January. Readers interested in the DeskBook Pro may also be interested in acquiring a device which demonstrates a similar level of utility: the USB Pet Rock, available here.

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Author: Notebookcheck, 2005-09-20 (Update: 2011-05- 3)