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Motorola's Whacked Lapdock Can Make Raspberry Pi Base 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-the-best-out-of-the-situation dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Poor sales have driven Motorola Mobility to whack the Webtop, its attempt to make Android into an all-in-one operating system for both smartphones and traditional PCs. Motorola confirmed the death to CNET before issuing a widely circulated statement. Webtop allowed users to plug their Motorola device into a special laptop dock, which could then display Web pages and files on a full screen. Supported devices included the Motorola Atrix 2, which launched with Android 2.3 ('Gingerbread') and a dual-core 1GHz processor. For those few who bought a Webtop and now need something to do with it, Liliputing posted an article earlier this year about using the device to transform Raspberry Pi into a laptop (with the aid of some key accessories). Raspberry Pi's homebrew computer features a 700MHz processor capable of overclocking to 1GHz and 256MB of RAM, as well as an SD card for longer storage—specs that lag those of the latest smartphones, but Raspberry Pi has the virtue of being quite a bit cheaper at $35."
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Motorola's Whacked Lapdock Can Make Raspberry Pi Base

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @03:27PM (#41589303)

    Subject makes about as much sense as the title + first few lines of the summary. Yikes, could you at least try to write something coherent?

    • Motorola's Whacked Lapdock Can Make Raspberry Pi Base

      So what do I do? Add water? Mix and bake?

      • by raydobbs (99133)

        I'm still trying to decide if it blends...

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        In a nutshell many companies are twisting their minds all out of shape as to how best combine the smart phone, smart tablet and smart book into as cheap and easily connectible system as possible. How to cut corners in cost, and where best to stick that smart phone, to the tablet, to the keyboard and of course to the big screen TV (will the problems never end). Everyone knows they who do it best will be the next Apple, while Apple rots in the barrel with the rest. Motorola is conducting experiments, with wh

        • by rs79 (71822)

          "In a nutshell many companies are twisting their minds all out of shape as to how best combine the smart phone, smart tablet and smart book into as cheap and easily connectible system as possible."

          Is THAT what they're doing? Oh. Ok, well that's fairly easy, take the PCMCIA dock out of my thinkpad and let me stuff my phone in there. Problem solved on so many levels.

  • Translation: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Monday October 08, 2012 @03:39PM (#41589433)

    ...wait, what?

    • The WebTop used to be a $499 Firefox-driven accessory that you purchased on top of your (already very expensive) Photon/Atrix Android phone.

      For $499, one would have expected a full laptop/netbook, or that it came with a free limited 2-year data plan (like you get with the Chromebook), but at that price point, the product made little sense. I actually know a couple of people that already owned Photon phones that could plug into such a device, but that were just not going to purchase a WebTop because of the

    • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Splat (9175) on Monday October 08, 2012 @04:59PM (#41590303)

      If you bought this one thing, you can combine it with this other thing, and then buy some additional things, to make an inferior version of this real thing.

      • oh, I get it. It's like buying a shell kit for a Lamborghini Aventador, combining it with a chassis for a Mazda 6, and dropping in a 3-cylinder block meant for a Daihatsu Charade.

        While it looks good standing still, it's not that stable and 0.0 is about as fast as it's ever going to go.

  • ... so it must be good!

    • by idontgno (624372)

      CHEERLEADER: Ya'll are so wack.

      THE UGLY ONE: Wiggidy-wack?

      CHEERLEADER: Nope, just regular type.

    • From Not Another Teen Movie [imdb.com]:

      Sure, why not? I am the token black guy. I'm just supposed to smile and stay out of the conversation and say things like: "Damn," "Shit," and "That is whack."

      Really bad movie. Hilarious, in places.

  • So you can buy an expensive, rare piece of kit to build a some what crappy laptop with?

    Other than an exercise in rPi development this seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    I own a Moto Razr phone (for which this dumb idea was intended) and opted to buy a very cheap ($50 off CL) eee pc for my tinkering...

  • Missing link (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think there is a link missing to the actual article on Liliputing: http://liliputing.com/2012/06/turn-a-raspberry-pi-into-laptop-with-a-70-motorola-lapdock.html

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only time that I ever heard of this device is when it's getting whacked. Maybe if they put a little bit more effort into marketing this thing...

    But making a specialized device that works with only a few select phones seems to be a bad idea anyway. If they have more clout and developed a standard that will work with all Android phones, then maybe they would find more demand. Now that MMI is a part of Google maybe that will happen.

    Also, for phone accessories -- a very expensive accessory -- you would need

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday October 08, 2012 @04:48PM (#41590163) Journal

    As a former Atrix owner, the lapdock was really enticing until I learned its limitations. There's no webcam, so your front-facing camera only sees the back of the lapdock. For whatever reason the trackpad lacked any kind of scrolling, which is imperative for webpages. There was no edge scrolling or two-finger gesture.

    They were overpriced and the only way to get them not overpriced was when you're buying your phone, which is when you're already dropping a few hundred bucks on that and new accessories (unless you've already switched to android). Then you even had to buy the $35/mo "tethering option" (what why?! It's not like you could use your phone while it was docked) after dropping another $200 on the hardware.

    In the end, great concept, bad execution. Tablets moved in to this space, which I guess were more profitable for Motorola. I can't but think had it changed to be scrollable and not require tethering and have a camera, that many more people would have signed up.

  • If you want a low-end tablet, get one. They start at around $45 now. By the time you get this thing, a Rasberry Pi, and all the necessary cables and connectors, you'll have spent more, and you'll have an underpowered laptop.

    And if you want an "entertainment device", you can get Allwinner-based set-top boxes for about $75, with case and connectors. They usually come with Android, and you can load other Linux distros if you want.

    If you're doing homebrew embedded work, one of the ARM boards in the Audu

  • it was an idea before it's time. The phones needed more ram and more storage to be useful. 1gb of ram just wasn't enough to drive X11 and be responsive. The thing was always running out of memory and it stopped firefox from being usable on it.I loved my lapdock but the limitations were obvious. They need to revive the concept in about 3 years time and make a phone with 4-16gb of ram, when 128-256gb micro sd cards are affordable for users. Then it could replace a laptop. I can see the potential of the webdoc
    • by pmontra (738736)

      Actually I think that to succeed those devices need to do without the docking station. One should be able to walk into a friend house or any office and borrow a usb/bluetooth keyboard and mouse and connect to any hdmi screen. One doesn't have to leave a docking station at work, another one at home and a third one somewhere else. That's too inconvenient.

      That said, I agree with you on the other requirements. I'd love to have my current computer compacted into my phone form factor (and SG2) but we'll also have

    • by EzInKy (115248)

      I'm pretty sure my N900 uses xorg, and it still performs just fine.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      1gb of ram just wasn't enough to drive X11 and be responsive

      That's a bunch of shit. X11 is not the problem, Firefox is. My first Unix machine was a SunOS4 machine with 24MB. I could run X11R6 with Netscape 2 and it was OK. They should have used Opera, it is the only credible browser which does nearly as much as Firefox, but while genuinely using less system resources.

    • The concept was actually perfect timing; the problem was it was hobbled by horrendous execution. The Webtop environment was horribly limiting, basically allowing you to do nothing except run Firefox. The $499 price tag on launch day was also unbelievable when you could buy a functional laptop for less. Add on the AT&T options you had to add to your plan in order to own it ("Tethering plan + smartphone data plan") and it made the whole thing horribly cost-prohibitive.

      I had an Atrix myself and liked it
  • I'm in the process of relocating and have been using my Droid4 with the Lapdock made for the Bionic as my only non 4 inch screen internet access device. It will likely be another two weeks until I can get my PC's back online. I paid $120 for the lapdock, much less than a new laptop. The phones could definately use more RAM; that would improve the performance. Also when VZW rolled out ICS the Webtop went to crap without Firefox and Flash. Of course I've installed those. I only trusted the motel computers to
  • Raspberry Pi isn't a great fit for much of anything, and there are cheaper options available.

    If you want a smartphone, the Venture has comparable specs, and sells for $50, contract-free, and VirginMobile has some of the cheapest cell plans, too.

    If you want a desktop, you can usually get a used, mini P4 system (40w idle) for $35 from geeks.com. Better deals are often available from local off-lease PC dealers.

    If you want a tablet, Walmart stocks a $50 Pandigital model for $50.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Raspberry Pi isn't a great fit for much of anything, and there are cheaper options available.

      Just because you can't imagine what R-Pi is great for, that doesn't mean it's not a great fit for anything. There's dozens of tasks which R-Pi is the best fit for, because it has basic GPIO, lots of processing power, and a price tag like an Arduino. Name a cheaper, better way to get a couple of usb cameras onto an IP network, for example. And name a cheaper device with 1080p video decoding; you can't do it. That makes it an awesome option for digital signage. The fact that it doesn't make a good smartphone,

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Name a cheaper, better way to get a couple of usb cameras onto an IP network, for example.

        You can get network-attached cameras, cheaper than a Pi+Camera, and I'm betting, better features and quality all-around. Not to mention surveillance DVRs with multiple cameras, and built-in network connectivity.

        And name a cheaper device with 1080p video decoding;

        D-Link MovieNite Streaming Player, DSM310.

        There are also several Blu-Ray players near the same price as well... If you need to add power, and storage, and mo

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Not to mention surveillance DVRs with multiple cameras, and built-in network connectivity.

          The R-Pi is a DVR with multiple cameras and built-in network connectivity, with the addition of some cameras which are dirt cheap now, and a hub, likewise.

          D-Link MovieNite Streaming Player, DSM310.

          That is not cheaper than an R-Pi. It's the same price, nominally, once you account for a remote for the R-Pi. That's a cool heads-up, though.

          There are also several Blu-Ray players near the same price as well...

          Problem is, most cheap Blu-Ray players have shit streaming, if any.

          I wasn't trying to say that there weren't a few niches where a Pi might be handy, but it's most certainly NOT "a good fit for MANY things". The areas were it might be useful are fleetingly small.

          As it is a nifty video player in a very small power envelope already, that seems a lot of nonsense. The only thing wrong with it really (since the re

          • by evilviper (135110)

            The R-Pi is a DVR with multiple cameras and built-in network connectivity, with the addition of some cameras which are dirt cheap now, and a hub, likewise.

            NO, it certainly isn't. A surveillance DVR has maybe 16 (analog) channels for capture,includes all cameras, with 60ft of cable for each (or wireless otherwise), includes 500GB+ HDD, has realtime H.264 encoding for all 16 channels at 640x480, and enough power to stream out a live (or recorded) feed of all 16 at once, to numerous users at once. Let's not

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              A surveillance DVR has maybe 16 (analog) channels for capture,includes all cameras, with 60ft of cable for each (or wireless otherwise), includes 500GB+ HDD, has realtime H.264 encoding for all 16 channels at 640x480, and enough power to stream out a live (or recorded) feed of all 16 at once, to numerous users at once. Let's not forget it includes a power supply, case, and all the software (no setup required).

              Forget for a moment that I've seen countless counterexamples to your claim. I will address this.

              Nothing like that is even POSSIBLE with the Pi. USB cameras are cheap, but they've got a strict 3m upper-limit on cable length.

              No, in fact, they do not. First, I've extended some with 10' cables successfully, you could probably go further. Second, powered USB extensions are no longer heinously expensive. Third, due to the tree-wired nature of USB, you can accomplish all kinds of clever cable runs with it. Fourth, you can add USB capture devices to support other kinds of cabling, where and as necessary.

              And 16 off a USB hub, that's daisy-chained to the built-in USB hub, which is shared between cameras, networking, the data all streaming to the external HDD enclosure you also had to buy, and whatever else you need attached? I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell a Pi could do it...

              Of course it can. It can't do a lot

              • by evilviper (135110)

                "3m" was a typo, I meant 5m (or 15'). USB has strict timing restrictions. Far, far shorter maximum than the common 60' of cabling per-camera that comes with most surveilance DVRs.

                Of course it can. It can't do a lot else at the same time, but who cares? It doesn't have to.

                No, it can't do it, end of story. You'd be overloading the single USB bus like mad, and losing frames left and right. If it had multiple USB buses, like a real computer, you could potentially do it, but it doesn't makes sense to try,

        • by Thantik (1207112)

          D-Link MovieNite Streaming Player, DSM310 is $80. $80 > $35...and that's the upper version of the pi. There's a $25 version that has the capability as well.

          • by evilviper (135110)

            D-Link MovieNite Streaming Player, DSM310 is $80.

            No, it's $38.00:
            http://www.walmart.com/ip/D-Link-MovieNite-Streaming-Player-DSM310/20666759 [walmart.com]

            $80 > $35...and that's the upper version of the pi. There's a $25 version that has the capability as well.

            No, in this case, $38 < $25.

            It's not even remotely fair to call the Pi even $35, because that's without power, SD card to boot off of, a case for the board, storage for videos, etc. When you drop down to $25, you LOSE NETWORKING, so you need to add the cost

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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