Is the Clambook the Palm Folio reborn?

Clamcase is known for making laptop-style docks for the iPad, but its newest initiative seeks to take your smartphone to the big screen. The newly announced Clambook is a super-thin laptop shell that connects to an Android device or iPhone via its video-out connector. The result, on supported phones, is a more latptop-like experience.

The device will make use of a technology called MHL on Android, which may very well be lurking in your phone without your knowledge. MHL, or Mobile High-Definition Link, outputs HD video over the microUSB port which can then be converted to an HDMI signal and pumped into any device. this technology can send sound along with the video, and since it uses the USB port, power can be sent back to the device.

The Clambook will handle all of this with its built-in MHL connector in order to throw your phone’s UI up on the screen. Devices that are based on Android 4.0 or later should tolerate this well. With the right equipment, you can perform this same trick now. The home screen will rotate automatically, and you can tether a Bluetooth mouse to get a cursor. just how it will support the iPhone is not clear yet. Most of Clamcase’s renders show an Android interface.

Devices with on-screen Android buttons (like the Galaxy Nexus) will show them on the screen, but the Clambook will have keyboard buttons for those that don’t. Its built-in keyboard and mouse should just work with Android 4.0 and higher devices. The dock itself has a widescreen LED-backlit panel of indeterminate size and a very MacBook Air feel to the casing.

The new Clambook is supposed to be out in time for the holiday season, but there is no word on pricing. Palm tried the same thing with the Palm Folio a number of years ago, but ended up canceling the product before it shipped. perhaps Clamcase can do better.