Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
Part of the reason I was drawn to the Chromebook Pixel is that it's essentially a thin client for accessing the same content I interact with using my phones and tablets. Having to move and maintain files between separate machines is a chore I no longer wish to deal with, so I'm happy to see that this issue may soon be a thing of the past. Today at IFA, Acer demoed its Extend prototype, a laptop-dock that could enable you to use a smartphone as a your primary computer.
"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.
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.
As you can see in the renders above, when most phones are plugged in, you're presented with a tablet-styled UI.
Google I/O is coming and it's time to get excited! It's like Christmas in June! It will be here in just a few
short agonizing weeks - and we need to prepare. There is background information you need to know, rumors you should have in mind, and past announcements and acquisitions that need to be remembered. Google always leaves little news breadcrumbs for those that pay attention, and I pay attention.
The Motorola lapdock for the original Atrix 4G is being blown out of the AT&T store starting today for $250 off its $300 list price. Yup, just $50 after an instant discount gets you a laptop shell with a 36Wh battery inside.
Plug your Atrix into it, and the dead frame comes alive with a desktop-grade Webtop experience (it's really a custom, though severely cut down, Linux flavor), including desktop Firefox and virtual access to your phone's screen and data while docked.