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Motorola’s Lapdock looks like a small notebook computer, but it’s really a docking station that lets you use certain Motorola smartphones like laptops. Just dock your phone into a slot behind the screen and you can surf the web using an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, a full-sized keyboard, and a light-weight Linux environment with the Firefox web browser.

It was just under two years ago that Motorola introduced the Lapdock and the accompanying Webtop software that runs on a smartphone and makes the system work. Now CNET reports the company is discontinuing the product line and has no plans to offer laptop docks for future smartphones.

Motorola Lapdock

The first phone to run the Webtop software was last year’s Motorola Atrix 4G. The device generated a lot of pre-release buzz. But when Motorola revealed a $500 price tag for the Lapdock, a lot of people lost interest.

Since then Motorola has lowered the price and offered Webtop software and Lapdock accessories for a number of additional phones. But CNET reports that Motorola found sales “disappointing,” and has decided not to put any more resources into the project.

If you already have a Lapdock, you’ll be able to continue using it. But I wouldn’t expect any major software updates or feature enhancements.

The Lapdock is an unusual device. While it looks like a laptop, it doesn’t have a processor, memory, or storage. Instead it uses a phone as the brains of the system.

It turns out that you can also hook up a Lapdock to a non-Motorola device, and hackers have used Lapdocks to turn the Raspberry Pi, MK802, and other mini computers into low power laptops running Linux or Android.

Raspberry Pi with Motorola Lapdock

Now that Motorola isn’t really pushing the Lapdock at high prices anymore, you can find one pretty cheap. DailySteals is currently offering new models for just $7o, and you can regularly find new, used, and refurbished models at that price or lower on eBay.

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5 replies on “RIP Motorola Lapdock (2011 – 2012)”

  1. I’m all with you there Janet. I’ve been looking for this feature of using the screen of the phone as a trackpad and having peripherials attached around the mobile device and using it as a computer. On XDA developers have had Ubuntu proper running on the Atrix:
    …so I’m well interested in giving this a shot.
    There seems to be a common problem of getting drivers to work decently with trackpads (discarding Macs) so one would logically think that using the phones own screen driver would alleviate that problem. Probably isn’t that easy though.
    Anybody heard successful attempts of using a mobile device as a trackpad?

    1. I have the Droid 3 and I’ve followed along with the lapdock modification threads at xda. I guess if they’re going to discontinue them, we’d better grab ours sooner rather than later.

  2. Look at the size of the trackpad. Now look at the size of the phone. Why not replace the trackpad with a slot into which you place the phone so that it docks and sits flush with the surface? The phone screen then becomes your trackpad.
    Add a tablet style screen device with a similar cut-away dock at the back and your phone can be a phone, tablet and netbook all in one.
    Offer a small docking unit with video, keyboard and mouse interfaces and now you have a desktop style PC.
    Why can’t manufacturers just get this sort of thing right and offer these kind of products without charging silly prices or compromising them in some way e.g. poor keyboards or naff looks?

    1. The problem with this would be that you’re essentially tying the dock to one model of phone, given that most new phones that come out are different widths, heights, and depths–even from their predecessors, making it difficult to create a snug and flush fit.

  3. Good idea that was not very well implemented. I have the Atrix version (modified to work on my Razr) and the trackpad and keyboard are a bit of a disaster. Also a touchscreen or way to access the phone’s screen would make it so much more usable.

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