05
Oct
1[5]

"I love my lapdock. It's easily the best piece of technology that I've purchased in the last ten years," said no one ever. And Motorola knows that, so they're getting rid of Webtop.

The reason (as if it's not already clear)? Lack of adoption, or in Motorola's words, "adoption wasn't strong enough." That's a nice way of saying "no one bought this crap." In all fairness, though, it makes sense, considering the direction Android is going in - ICS bridged the gap between smartphone and tablet, which basically eliminated the need for something like Webtop in the first place.

1

For those who may be new to the Android scene, Webtop was first introduced by Motorola with the Atrix 4G. It allowed the phone to be plugged into a proprietary dock and activate a custom version of Linux, effectively transforming it into a makeshift laptop. The idea is actually really neat - the implementation is what sucked.

A raise of the glass is in order to the failed tech - you might kind of almost be missed by... someone, Webtop. Rest in peace.

[CNet]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548946468 Bryan Tran

    Shocker!

  • http://www.facebook.com/YAYSAVERGN Eric James Salcido

    Will a fire sale ensue and thus bring the platform back to life and make people want to hack it to make it awesome? I hope so. I also hope it become stupid cheap because this would be great on a Razr MAXX.

  • Albert Rabuyo

    I had high hopes with ICS Webtop with my Atrix 4G. Thanks a lot, Motorola. I already knew that Webtop was doomed, but the ICS cancellation is just... Gah.

  • jamaall

    I thought web top was cool. Just plug in your HDMI and your TV is now a computer. The lap dock though, that was just a fail..

    • Tatsuya

      I agree.
      Having real hdmi port, the choice of the output resolution, being able to turn off the phone screen if you're playing games (unlike on mhl), all of this is great!
      That's about the ICS update of the webtop, not the ubuntu GB one.

  • mgamerz

    No one bought this crap because you charge way to fu**ing much for it, and you know it. $500 AND A TETHERING PLAN!? FOR FIREFOX!? Motorola, are you this retarded?

    • DCMAKER

      it was 150 for the dock? plus you could get it for 80 bucks on deal sites a year ago.... How did you need a tethering plan?

      • mgamerz

        When the atrix came out, the dock + phone was $500 (the original lapdock). You also needed a tethering plan in order to even use firefox without wifi. It came with Firefox 3.6 originally. They slashed the price down heavily after about 6 months of 0 people buying it. People bought it but they attempted to suck people in with a tethering plan requirement, that was easily bypassed via root. They slashed it to $50, and I picked one up. It wasn't worth it, webtop is so slow.

        • http://twitter.com/Lehjr1 Leon

          $500 by itself was bad enough, but even worse when you consider that it only worked with that one phone without hacking the connectors because they kept changing the plug configuration with every device. For the money, you could buy an actual laptop with a decent amount of storage, performance, and a longer life span.

      • mgamerz

        Also if you didn't buy the dock with the phone it was like $400 at launch. For a piece of metal/plastic that had a battery, a few wires, a keyboard, a crappy screen, and a terrible touchpad.

  • DennisHeffernan

    Falls straight into the bottomless pit of Who Cares, not that you shouldn't have reported on it, that is. It's just that following the ICS kneecap the Atrix has pretty much had it anyway.

    I almost bought one of these when AT&T slashed the price; the need for a tethering plan kept me away. That was probably the case for a lot of people.

    • DCMAKER

      How did you need to have a tethering package?

    • http://profiles.google.com/rhippert02 Russell Hippert

      root and bypass.. tether plan no longer needed

  • Andy_in_Indy

    The tech is still useful. in fact, having the phone interface change for the lapdock would be better than the webtop idea. But so far, they have killed upward support on all the lapdock capable phone except the Razer and maybe the Bionic.

  • http://about.me/cesarcardoso Cesar Cardoso

    The Lapdock as a concept failed miserably, but the Lapdock (the original Lapdock, as bundled with the Atrix 4G for you Americans or Atrix for the rest of the world) as a product is cool; it's simply a cool KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) so you can plug whatever you want with some adapters. Just look
    for "lapdock raspberry pi" or "lapdock mk802" on Google. Or, even
    better, look at http://weblog.mrbill.net/archives/2012/05/11/using-a-motorola-atrix-lapdock-as-a-hdmi-monitor-and-usb-keyboard-mouse/

  • jammer

    Too proprietary. They need to partner with canonical and have Ubuntu running alongside Android.

    • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

      +1 Who needs a Lapdock when all you need is "Ubuntu for Android" (http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/android/features-and-specs) and an HDMI cable?
      A with that you'll not only get a full Linux OS when plugged to a monitor, you'll also get a smart TV OS (Ubuntu TV) when plugged to your TV!

      • 27yearold

        except lapdock, or more precisely webdock, allowed you to do that with a mod for several YEARS, and what you linked isn't out anywhere. moto win, google fail.

        • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

          "moto win, google fail." ... Moto is Google now. So when one wins, the other wins, and when one fails, the other... Fails! :-P

          But what's doing Google in this equation anyway? "Ubuntu for Android" isn't out yet, so you could have said that Canonical fails.

          Personally I think that Canonical wins for proposing it, and that manufacturers fail for not embracing it.

          • http://www.swehes.com/ Hans-Erik

            See. This is what would make a docking station worth it. Where is Cyanogen on this one? Wouldn't it be sweet if he worked with Canonical to get Ubuntu for Android into his builds as an option? And I would think that Canonical would embrace such a huge base of Power users to help in getting their product out.

    • Alex Murphy

      I disagree it should be a partnership with Ubuntu, that would only confuse mainstream consumers. They should allow for a docking mode that has more of a hybrid Android/Chrome OS feel, basically same functionality and general look as the phone OS but with the new desktop Aura interface of Chrome OS and more of a focus on web apps.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rhippert02 Russell Hippert

    "I love my lapdock. It's easily the best piece of technology that I've purchased in the last ten years," said no one ever.

    To quote a great man;
    "Look, maybe I didn't say every single little tiny syllable, no. But basically I said them, yeah"

    I'm Lokifish and if you don't know me, google Ubuntop. From the very fisrt t

  • http://www.martian-imperium.com/ Lokifish Marz

    "I love my lapdock. It's easily the best piece of technology that I've purchased in the last ten years," said no one ever.

    To quote a great man;
    "Look, maybe I didn't say every single little tiny syllable, no. But basically I said them, yeah."

    The first time I saw Webtop my thoughts were, "About bloody time. Somebody finally understands what tech convergence is and it only took ten years." (Toshiba E740, released in 2002) I won't bore you with the detailed history. After using Webtop for a minute or two I immediately saw were Moto failed and what had to be fixed.
    Shortly after I purchased my Photon I set out to fix Webtop and make is distributable. Two days before I went to the Abdroid BBQ in 2011 I released Ubuntop. There I asked Moto and they said that it couldn't be done (I took notes on this using Open Office in Ubuntop (which is a modified version of Webtop for those that haven't googled it yet).

    After many attempts to speak with Moto about what needed to be done to make Webtop a tool vs a gimmick I posted "The costly failure of Webtop and Motorola's continued failure and simple mistakes." To give you an idea> http://martian-imperium.com/images/WebTop+.png is what Webtop is capable of. YOU CANNOT DO THAT IN ICS. Want proof? Install Ubuntop and one of those VNC Linux setups, hard reset erasing EVERYTHING. Ubuntop is still there, VNC Linux is not. But what about tablet mode? Umm last time I check there was no GIMP or OpenOffice Desktop version for ICS or Jellybean so unless Moto releases a tablet dock that tablet mode is yet another gimmick. I know, I used Evo Desktop PC every day for a long time. Tablet mode isn't much different.

    "The idea is actually really neat - the implementation is what sucked."

    I agree 100% with that. What folks got was Ubuntop for Android after the marketing guys got there hands on it. In short, the largest Firefox install on the planet (+700MB). I've said it before and I'll say it again. Webtop didn't fail in spite of Motorola, IT FAILED BECAUSE OF MOTOROLA.

    sorry about the cut off post earlier. Lightning and cell data connection don't mix.

    • 27yearold

      I had ubuntop and it beats anything ICS or JB has to offer.

  • cooldoods

    I think (hope) that Google is killing off Webtop because they plan to make Ubuntu for Android a standard feature for Motorola/Android phones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667020551 Jose Torres

    I've owned an Atrix 4G for a year and Lapdock for three months ($50 special) and have to say that the concept could have been revolutionary if it wasn't for the crap software design that made Webtop soooooo laggy. It's only a good idea because I can browse the web on a large screen plus use Quickoffice to compose documents (I take it to college for taking notes onto Google Drive) plus watch movies through Motorola Media Center plus a few things that won't make sense on a phone or tablet. I REALLY hate the fact that a tethering plan AND a 4GB data plan are required to use the cellular network on it. Since I did not want to waste money on that crap, I still use webtop on Wi Fi and just use the phone browser if on cellular. I also hate how much I have to manually cut memory usage for running processes to have it usable, otherwise Webtop just freezes and I get the "Low Memory" warning. I was hoping Motorola would shoot us over Webtop 3.0 with an ICS update, but as many of you know, this will never happen.

    I have to admit, although I like my Lapdock/Atrix to tolerable levels, I'm not the least bit surprised ato hear about Motorola dropping the lapdock, heck they have pretty much given up on Atrix/Photon/Electrify customers anyway, why not this?

    • http://profiles.google.com/rhippert02 Russell Hippert

      Webtop was never really optimized. With the right fixes it's performance on a stock locked Atrix is about that or a 1.2GHz Single Core Atom netbook. The only time I get "Low Memory" errors is running Peacekeeper benchmark which, as many know, is a serious memory hog but the error goes away and the benchmark does finish.

  • Gav456

    LoL, actually quoting something that nobody said = Genius

  • József Király

    Webtop was a great idea, however, as said before, too proprietary. If there was a standard for phones (let's say, mHDMI or MHL) to connect to displays, and Webtop would be an app installable from the Play Store, many would use it. it could basically replace a desktop computer for browsing, watching videos, etc.!

    Given that todays phones are capable of playing 1080p videos, and controlling such a display, there should be no problem creating a new UI designed for this. A united app (what has UI for both TVs and computer displays), what you can install from the store, and is compatible with the majority of the phones, and problem solved.

    But yes, best solution is Canonical's Ubuntu For Android, if it gets released any time soon...

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

    Sigh. Great concept, poor execution. Lapdock 2.0 was begging to be made and the market is there, ho hum.

  • Kévin Balsan

    ICS and JellyBean are really good with a keyboard and even a mouse or trackpad. The only thing missing in the equation are the apps : we need stronger, more powerful apps to replace what we use on our PCs. I'm really hopeful that there will be a day in the mid-future where Android will nearly completely replace my desktop pc. It already replaced 70% of the time I used to spend on the desktop with the Nexus 7, and native touch apps can make for a better experience than a desktop browser. Look at the reddit apps for Android and iOS for example : you'll see how far they go compared to the normal desktop web interface. I can't browse reddit anymore on my computer, it's far more comfy on the tablet. Reddit Sync is awesome, and I've seen some really impressive iOS clients too. (Alien Blue is so good they're making a desktop/laptop Mac version of their app. This is evidence that native apps are superior to the web, and mobile development spawned a new movement toward native apps that acts as client for web APIs, rather than just browsing pure HTML5 pages.)

  • peterfares

    These are stupid. Netbooks (which are better than webtops) can be had for less. You shouldn't (yet) converge the phone with the laptop. What should be done is converge the tablet with the laptop, which is what Windows 8 is doing. It will be many more years before phones pack enough processing power to make decent computers.

  • ari_free

    Too expensive for something that won't run MS Office

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      um you can use plenty of Office compatible apps on the Play Market...Office(insert year) is no longer the end all of office suites or choices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001088959750 Ryan Lounsbury

    I loved this idea when it first game out. Unfortunately the Webtop OS was too limited and the Webtop laptop was ridiculously priced for a dumb dock to the Atrix. I don't think it has to have Ubuntu, but give the user an option to run a few distros (Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora) and maybe Chrome OS when docked.

    If the Atrix is just serving up the GUI through the dock you could make the connection wireless so you can leave the phone in your pocket while working with the clam shell.

  • Michael Benesch

    I personally think At&t killed it. I would've gotten one if it didn't mean at&t would kill my unlimited plan.

  • LAK132

    If the 500 Pro hadn't been a proprietary hacking mess, there would probably be more people out there with a RasPi they want to turn into a laptop buying these things. The 500 was the downfall in my opinion, if they didn't lock it with their stupid DRM shite these things might actually be really cool gadgets. I purchased a 500 after seeing all the videos of 100's and the bionic being used with RasPi's and other micro computers only to realise I had just wasted $300.