Rumor: Google kills off Motorola Lapdock accessory?

It seemed like a good idea at the time - to some, at least. A while back, Motorola offered consumers a way to link up some of its smartphones to its LapDock accessory; basically a hardware add-on that could turn some smartphones into a notebook-like device. The Lapdock could work with the Motorola ATRIX along with a number of other Motorola smartphones.

All of this was well before Google bought Motorola earlier this year for $12.5 billion. Now it looks like the days of this quirky smartphone accessory are over. reports, via unnamed sources, that Google has killed off development of the LapDock add-on and its Webtop software application.

The story also claims that Verizon Wireless stores that still have LapDocks available are selling them off at $49.99, compared to its previous price of $250, even to customers who have a compatible phone but are not Verizon customers. The full list of Lapdock-based smartphones include the Motorola ATRIX, the ATRIX 2, the Droid RAZR, the Droid 4, the Droid Bionic, and the Photon 4G.

If true, it's not that much of a surprise. While the Webtop software has supposedly been improved since its first release, the fact is that Motorola was asking people to pay for the LapDock add-on at a price that was almost as expensive as a full PC notebook.


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Great idea, but the concept was flawed because of the price: the lapdock for the original Atrix was $499.99 at introduction, and that was for just a screen, a battery, 2 USB ports, a charger, and a casing it all fits into which is utterly ridiculous. While I wanted one pretty badly when it came out, I never did simply because the price was... again, ridiculous. It was dead on arrival for that reason alone: it was simply too damned expensive.

And I actually bought one last week at Radio Shack for $20+tax since they're dumping them and I bought an Atrix off craigslist for $50. The lapdock works but, it's simply not useful enough to keep - the phone is fine, especially with a custom ROM on it, but the lapdock has already been returned. Even using it when needed, and knowing it'll keep the Atrix charged up a long time, it's honestly not even worth the $20+tax because of the lackluster performance.

Again, a nice idea, but the actual execution of it was sad from the beginning. I know I can do updates for Webtop and even run a full Ubuntu as well (there's info at the XDA-Developers forum), it just wasn't what I'd hoped for.

To this day the only real solution for me is still the Galaxy Note which I just can't afford at this point: the screen is perfect for me and the resolution is awesome, and I've been using PocketPC/Palm style hardware since before the public ever saw one in the late 1990s so that stuff in seriously habitual with me. I still have an original Dell Axim X51v that I use almost daily, it's the single best electronics device purchase I've ever made in my entire ~4.5 decades of living.

Why can't they make such devices anymore?

It was a great idea and definitely where the future is headed. It was just too early and used the wrong OS. If it was say... Wwindows 9 and was configured to have the standard desktop/Modern UI when docked and worked just like a WINRT device when docked and had the WP9 interface when undocked it could be a killer all in one mobile solution. In three years when Windows 9 is out I think this is where they are going to go. It makes sense since WP8 already uses WinRT as its core.

I agree that it was released too early. I have an Atrix with a dock: Webtop works well but Motorola locked it down so you can only access a couple of pre-installed applications (which was Firefox 6 and remote control back to Android). Considering the Webtop OS was a modified Ubuntu install, its disappointing to not even have access to a terminal and install other applications (though a unstable rooting hack is available inside the Webtop OS).

I'm looking forward to Ubuntu's release for Android. They will be integrating the phone experience into Unity when docked. They have a working concept with the Atrix 2 which they showed off some time ago. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Canonical have something to do with this rumor or even a potential partner up with Google/Motorola whom may even ship phones with it.

If that is the case then I could see a Ubuntu+Android vs Windows+WP (which you pointed out) which could get pretty interesting.

Edited by ShMaunder, Sep 14 2012, 10:13pm :