Building a cheap Android laptop with an Android TV stick + Motorola Lapdock
Motorola may not be making the Lapdock anymore, but for a little over a year, the company offered Lapdock accessories for a handful of smartphones, letting you use your phone like a laptop. The Lapdock looks like a laptop, but it has no processor, memory or storage. Just connect your supported Atrix, Bionic, or other phone to a port in the back, and it acts as the brains of the laptop.
While Motorola didn’t sell enough Lapdocks to call the idea a success, it turns out you can do some nifty things with a Lapdock and a non-Motorola device. We’ve seen them used to turn the Raspberry Pi and MK802 mini-computers into inexpensive laptops.
You can also connect other mini-computers, and Youtube user DAVE01568 has posted a video of a Minix Neo G4 hooked up to a Lapdock. What’s interesting about his DIY laptop is that it also involves a backup battery, which allows you to close the lid of the Lapdock and re-open it without rebooting the computer.
The setup involves splicing a few wires and hooking up a few adapters. But in a nutshell, it involves connecting the Neo G4 to an external battery which it can use for power, connecting that battery to the Lapdock so it can recharge while the device is on and maintain a charge when the Lapdock is off, and hooking up the Neo G4 to use the keyboard, touchpad, and display of the Lapdock.
You don’t end up with the most portable device — there are cables all over the place. But you do end up with a cheap way to use the Minix Neo G4 without plugging it into a wall jack or a full-sized TV.
The Neo G4 sells for about $60 to $70 at DealExtreme, and features a Rockchip RK3066 dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a stronger WiFi antenna than those found in most of the cheap Android TV sticks I’ve tested.