07
Jun
2012-06-07_10h47_15

Motorola introduces a novel idea with its Atrix phone: a lapdock. The idea was simple. All these Android app can be extremely productive, so why limit them to a single, small screen? Plug your phone into the lapdock, use its frankly-over-powered processor to run a larger screen with a keyboard and trackpad. Well, that's exactly what the ClamBook does. Only it does it way better.

2012-06-07_10h53_47 2012-06-07_10h56_43

2012-06-07_10h55_20

As you can see in the renders above, when most phones are plugged in, you're presented with a tablet-styled UI. The device doesn't appear to be touchscreen, but Android has had support for mouse functionality since Android 3.1, so you won't be stuck. In fact, we've seen in multiple product demos from NVIDIA and ASUS that Android with a keyboard and mouse is actually pretty great.

For users who bought a Motorola phone hoping for the Webtop interface, though, ClamBook has you in mind as well. Users with a Webtop-enabled phone can still use the interface Motorola intended. It's unclear whether end-users will have the option of choosing which interface will appear, or if the ClamBook will simply default to whatever UI the phone supports. We've reached out to the company for comment and have yet to hear back. We'll update when we find out more.

Another thing you'll notice from the renders is that they're just that. Renders. Unfortunately, there are no photos or videos of the ClamBook in action yet. "Notify Me" buttons are spread across the page to let users know when the company has more info which, in the world of peripherals, means there's a decent chance we'll never hear from this product again.

One other thing that catches the eye is the disclaimer towards the end of the page:

Some of the ClamBook features highlighted may use modified software. It is important to note, most manufacturers strongly caution against installing any software that modifies the original device software (this process is often referred to as “jailbreaking” or “rooting”). It is also important to note that unauthorized modification may be a violation of your hardware end-user license agreement and may result in being denied service for devices that have any unauthorized software installed. Modifying your phone can cause irreparable damage and void your warranty. If you choose to use third party software on your device then you do so at your own risk.

Yes, it looks very likely that the ClamBook will only work if you have root. While this isn't entirely surprising, it does limit the number of users who can utilize this product. It could also very easily end up being the most expensive root-only accessory you ever buy.

Even if this product doesn't make it to market, or if it gets priced into oblivion, or if it's only limited to root users and isn't able to gain a critical mass, we still hope this kind of accessory will make it to the mainstream. Motorola's Webtop seemed like a good idea when it launched. It got bogged down by a parallel tablet OS that it couldn't access, a stripped down Linux build that didn't bring much more than Firefox, and prohibitively high price tag. Still, maybe some day someone will figure out how to do it right. Maybe that someone will be ClamBook.

Source: ClamCase

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Bas

    I don't know why, but this reminds me of that new Android functionality from Ubuntu.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      It's a similar concept in that you plug a smartphone into a special dock and can interact with your smartphone's applications in a desktop w/ mouse and keyboard environment. 

      I personally prefer the concept of the Ubuntu for Android because Unity is designed for desktops and laptops, but Android (as beautiful and awesome as it is) isn't.

      If you don't believe me try Android x86 4.0 on VirtualBox! It's awkward as hell.

      • Bas

        I know that project... I never tried it out just because I know it doesn't work well with mouse.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

          My point exactly, though I am not sure if it's Android x86 or just Android's fault.

  • Brandon

    Apple will sue them and keep it from being released probably.

    This looks really cool!

  • Jake

    The disclaimer about how some clambook features may require rooting could just be referring to certain phones that, by default, only mirror certain apps that support it, like the default movie player. My old Droid X had this limitation when I used the built-in micro HDMI, unless I rooted it and installed a third party app that allowed me to send almost everything out through HDMI.

  • Agito504

    I hope this , plus my galaxy nexus Toronto, plus Ubuntu for android, will interlace very soon. I could then scrap my netbook

    • Agito504

      Toro *

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      Sorry Agito504, but Ubuntu for Android would require at least a Tegra 3 to run efficiently (see this video:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6eEDZva1W8), meaning your Galaxy Nexus would probably be as slow as your netbook running Windows 7 Starter.
      Maybe your next Nexus with Android Jelly Bean or Key Lime Pie might run it (I sure hope so)

      • Bas

        Really, Tegra 3 at least?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

          If you watched the video above, they deeply suggested that a Tegra 3 (or similar) was the optimum CPU for Ubuntu for Android.

          • Bas

            No wonder, it's quite a task to run a full desktop OS.

  • Ocentertainment

    I find it somewhat loosely ironic that it looks so much like an apple product, I.e, MacBook air.

    • Sven Enterlein

      Not only the design, the complete picture looks like taken from an Apple site...

    • Sean Donovan

      i read that this also supports the iphone, and also clamcase has been doing ipad stuff before so thats probably why..

  • Matt DeVillier

    The biggest problem I see is like with the Asus PadFone - a large number of apps are either not tablet-optimized, or have a separate apk for tablets, so all you get is the stretched phone version of the app, rather than a tablet-optimized one

    • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

      The market will fix this problem. Plus most apps already are optimised for a huge range of resolutions now and that will only happen more over time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Genjinaro Genjinaro

    Holiday 2012? :( Ugh, I was hoping it'd be cheap & available now so they can shut up & take my money. I wouldn't mind having something like this.

  • Jason Mclauchlin

    TAKE ALL OF MY MONEY.

  • Federick82

    looking good :) , I want one .

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