Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Should Google Revive the Lapdock?

Motorola's Lapdock were called Webtops

The Lapdock is a device which is basically a dumb screen and keyboard terminal which mates to your smartphone to create a laptop. Motorola released Lapdocks for its Atrix phone in 2010. These Mototola devices were failures, mainly due to the absence of a proper desktop operating system and high cost of the Lapdock accessory. The Asus Padfone series converts you phone into a tablet, and from tablet it can morph into a laptop.
Asus Padfone

Canonical had a similar concept in mind with its Ubuntu for Android initiative announced in 2012. 

Ubuntu for Android

Tim Bajarin in his article, Will Your Smartphone Be Your Next PC thinks the lapdock may be the future of the PC. I think he is right.

I think Chrome for Android could be a viable Lapdock operating system. Basically, the concept would consist of:

  • 11-inch to 13-inch display, mated to a keyboard.
  • Battery to power the Lapdock and recharge the phone while attached.
  • A docking station or cradle for the smartphone. Maybe the smartphone could even act as the trackpad.

Basically, an Android phone would be converted to a Google Chromebook.

As a counterpoint, Chromebook's are cheap, starting at US$199, and can sync with your Android phone and hence a lapdock may not be all that much cheaper.

There are advantages to the Lapdock. Chromebook's with 3G are a lot more expensive, starting at US$349. A l\Lapdock would use your phone 3G modem. The Lapdock would also serve as a phone charger. Useful on long trips. 

What do you think? As Lapdocks viable next generation computing platforms. 

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