back to article Motorola whacks laptop-like phone dock

No one wants laptop-style keyboard accessories for their phones. Or, rather, no one wants Motorola Mobility’s version. The Google-owned handset maker last week admitted it had canned the product. The system debuted in 2011 as an add-on for Motorola’s Atrix smartphone. The handset docks into the accessory to provide processor, …


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  1. o5ky
    Thumb Down

    Maybe if they made it universal so any android phone could run it, then it'd be a bit better :)

    1. Ralph B
      Thumb Down

      Maybe if they'd docked it in place of the touch pad then it would have been a lot better - serving as touch pad, 2nd display, programmable keyboard, you name it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe if Android phones had some sort of standard then they would.

      You simply have no idea what an Android phone will come with, where the ports will be, what version of software, what facilities they have etc. etc.

      1. andreas koch

        It would have been easy to sell this.

        If it had had an Apple on the back. Then it would have been:




        >a bargain at $499/ €479/ £549

        Mind you, there's still a chance that Apple will have had invented this earlier on in the future*.

        *This reverse temporal pre-inventing business shakes up all the grammar (which isn't much to start with) that I have control over...

        1. wowfood

          Re: It would have been easy to sell this.

          It would have also been a bargain if the phone actually worked. A friend of mine went through four of these in the space of three months. I believe three times it was because of the touchscreen, and the last one he got the battery discharged in less than 4 hours. After that he outright gave up, got an upgrade to a new phone and a netbook or something I believe.

          Shame really, when it worked he really liked the phone, it just never worked reliably.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "If it had an Apple on the back"

          It would have been closer to revolutionary and indispensable because it would have worked with tens or hundreds millions of phones instead of a single model of an Android OEM. More importantly, people other than techies would have actually heard about it.

          I think this is the direction things will go as CPU performance on phones get further beyond what people actually need on a phone, and would further damage the laptop market beyond what tablets are already starting to do. But it will be a wireless keyboard/mouse and have a monitor with a connector or dock available on the base, rather than something docking in a laptop form factor. If you are travelling and bringing something the size of a laptop with you, you'll bring a damn laptop! They targeted wrong, it should be for home for people who use this in lieu of a PC.

          This has been an obvious direction for a while, but it has to be done right for it to really take off. Not saying it has to be Apple that finally does it right - it could be Samsung since they are the largest Android OEM and they already make displays. This would be a good way for them to differentiate from other Android OEMs - they wouldn't want it to work in non-Samsung Androids for reasons that should be quite apparent...

          It'll need basically a full Linux userspace installed on the phone, or in the case of Apple, an OS X layer running over iOS's Mach microkernel along with OS X userspace. Ironically it would probably have the best chance of succeeding on a Windows Phone phone running an Intel CPU since it could actually run real Windows, but Microsoft and Intel will NEVER do this until it is way too late because they don't want to risk their hefty margins for the much smaller margins for phone OSes and CPUs.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You simply have no idea what an Android phone will come with, where the ports will be, what version of software, what facilities they have etc. etc."

        Car stereos solved this a long time ago. You know an Android phone comes with Android, so this would need to be baked into the OS and not a 3rd party add on. By baking it into the OS, Google get control of any hardware standards and can use a "Windows Logo" style requirement with manufacturers when licensing the Android name/Google applications.

        Every Android phone has either mini (older devices) or micro USB so providing a MicroUSB port is the way to go. The manufacturers would then just need a "face plate" that provides the physical dimension compatibility. This could also handle adapting mini to micro USB if needed.

        You could even have it so the face plate can be used as another poster said, as a touch pad if it's a phone, or, if it's a tablet, hooks onto the side of the screen to provide a 2nd monitor.

        There are plenty of options when you think about it. The advantage of the above is it could even support iPhones/iPads too, assuming Apple were on-board with the standard.

      3. Arrrggghh-otron

        All of the above...

        The laptop docks have all been left wanting.

        They should have been cheaper*, worked with, at the very least, the sub set of motorola** phones that were intended to work with laptop docks and use the phone as a track pad and more... not to mention a bit more stylish as they all look odd with phones jammed on the back, they have all felt a bit clunky...

        *Cheaper than a notebook.

        **There was no technical reason for Motorola to make their own range incompatible.

  2. Tech Hippy

    Rather have this..

  3. Pete 31

    love this dock - shame to see it go

    Gutted to see this go - I've found this dock really useful as a portable battery powered screen and keyboard for my Raspberry Pi -(via a home-made adapter box) when I first blogged about it you could get one for about £60 on Amazon: now they're over £100 which perhaps indicates how useful they are!. I think you can still pick up versions with hebrew keyboards for less.

    Works with the playstation too, which is handy when the misus wants to watch X-factor.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try offering decent support

    It isn't that demand isn't there, it's Motorolas appalling customer support. When this launched they wanted the same money for the dock as they did the atrix so it worked out very expensive. Not great when the company has a history of abandoning even its flagship products after only a couple of months. True to form they have dumped the atrix and in doing so gave a big slap in the face to those who bought it. I will never buy another motorola product again.

  5. James 51

    Pity, I liked the concept a lot. If there had have been something like for the n900 I would have bought one (provided it didn't cost the same as a decent icore laptop).

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    If they had sold the dock for about £100 and made it compatible with all their range of phones it may have sold better as the concept is good, Hope some chinese cheap phone maker such as ZTE will copy the idea for their phones.

  7. Tim Walker

    Raspberry Pi owners: start your browsers!

    I honestly wonder whether a significant proportion of Atrix Lapdock owners are RasPi enthusiasts, snapping up the "dumb-book" (did I just coin that phrase?) over the last few months as they've ended up massively discounted in the channel...

    OK, you still have to expend a few more pounds on the various leads and adapters you need to connect the Pi and the Lapdock (and a couple of hours painstakingly hacking together a "Frankencable" for the purpose), but it's still an interesting project if you're lucky enough to land yourself a cheap Lapdock.

    And on that subject: if Motorola is really canning the product now, hopefully there'll be one last wave of EoL stock making landfall soon - if I can find one for my RasPi for <£50, I'd be tempted...

  8. Mage Silver badge

    It was too expensive.

    In reality by the time you have a case that size with and LCD and ports, it's not much more expense to put an ARM cpu in it.

    1. Danny 14

      indeed which is sort of proved by people using homebrew cables for their PI

  9. Conrad Longmore

    I have one..

    I have one of these. Frankly, it was bloody expensive and it's as much use as a chocolate teapot if you are out of a WiFi or 3G coverage area. On the other hand, if you pair it with Google Docs and don't roam off the beaten track then it can make a decent cloud-based subnotebook. Still expensive though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too much for too little

    I agree with the other posters: the dock cost way too much for way too little. Had the dock given you a more complete operating environment - that is, one where you could run things like OpenOffice, not just a glorified browser - and had the cost been significantly less than a laptop, it might have taken off. But for the cost of the dock, you could buy a laptop or netbook of roughly the same size, with a more competent operating environment, and tethered it to your phone.

    It would be like saying "Here's a boat shell for your motorcycle - it lets you make your ride into a boat! Sure, it's as expensive as a stand-alone motorboat with a much more powerful engine, and doesn't handle as well, and only works with one brand of bike, but hey! Your bike's a boat - how cool is that?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: too much for too little

      Way cool! Where, tell me, where can I buy a bike-boat?

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