Pop Motorola's new Atrix 4G smartphone into its laptop-shell docking station, and like a lifeless corpse jolted with lightning, the laptop comes to life, giving you Motorola's Webtop. It's a desktop experience, powered by Android, including a file browser, HD media playback, and a full install of Firefox 4. All powered by the phone.
It's pretty amazing, actually:
As you can see in this walkthrough, the interface is fairly snappy. This is made possible by the phone's dual-core Tegra processor and a fairly crazy 1GB of onboard RAM.
Here we're seeing the phone driving a 24" monitor via the HDMI desktop dock. If you pop it out of that dock and into the laptop shell, the phone remembers all your window placements and settings and resumes just as you last left it.
Especially snazzy is the integration of the phone. As you can see in the demo, phone numbers in the Firefox browser are linked, and when you click them, the phone app in the standard Android window can dial the number or add it as a contact. Awesome.
Through the USB slots on both the laptop and the desktop docks, you can plug in a hard disk or a thumb drive and access it via the file browser. Or start up the media player where any video or audio files are recognized and pulled in for playback (the phone's screen shows a remote control interface when docked).
All that in a package that's surprisingly svelte as a phone (I was expecting a monster):
See the rest of PopSci's live CES 2011 coverage here
Looks decent, but how many wires do you need to dock a device??
Designed for obsolescence.
Woudl be smarter to just put a decent APi in android and a http web server.
security coudl be physcial too, so no issues with other people getting in.
These idiots of course want to sell you a special dock to do it for you though.
ah so dumb
@ manit: Four, exactly as shown. = ) Power, keyboard, mouse, VGA, exactly the same as any desktop. (Where's audio, though? I sincerely hope there's a 3.5mm audio jack on the dock, too, though it would be fairly absurd if there wasn't.)
I think it's gorgeous. Even if it's just netbook spec, there's nothing you can't do with Android, and having one computer that can be a tablet, desktop, or netbook, plus the cell integration, and so on, sounds extremely convenient. In a sense, it's a bit PK, since this is presumably where computers are heading eventually, but I don't see any real drawbacks to using the system now.
As for "designed for obsolescence," the little desktop dock can't possibly cost as much as a tower. Couldn't really assert the same about the laptop dock, I guess - I imagine the desktop dock will be by far the more popular choice.
I love the Android desktop environment, too. Very pretty. = ) A bit of a switch for Windows users, I guess, but all the comforts of home for anyone used to Mac or Linux.
I don't see the desktop/laptop as a viable replacement for my current computer until it can install and run the programs that I use. Unfortunately, the programs I use are made for windows, so I guess I am stuck for a while. In general, however, I can see this technology going much farther. People could bring around their phones and dock into screens at popular places, such as coffee shops, and resume where they left off. Stores could even have custom screens, with extra apps installed(not on the phone) that would let people order food, search the inventory, ask for assistance, etc.
They should have included a camera for skype
There is such a thing as hdmi audio...
Also, the dock is probably more for power, ease and reliablity than profit. If you have to have the phone plugged in to use it for more than an hour or 2 (or might be like laptops and have power saving features that turn off when charging). Cables are cheap and easy.
What ever happen to the industry's move toward eliminating wires? Seems like the better implementation would be using a PAN (Personal Area Network) preferably Bluetooth. Then, only one wire is needed; microUSB for power. Done. In my opinion it just seems like a better alternative to having another octopus on my desk.
Yeah although I would not see this replacing my entire home computer any time SOON, I definitely think it would be cool in a few years, when/if this technology takes off, to come home from work and place your immensely powerful phone down in a dock (or even just place it on some kind of mat) at your desk and see your LED monitor light up with all your apps along with all your media there for you to use just as you do today.
Seems kinda sketchy to me at this stage and a bit of a novelty but if it's greatly improved and our mobile devices keep getting more powerful, which they will, I don't think it's stupid to see something like this becoming normal in your home, to some of us anyway. Plus it would free up a lot of space if you're still using a computer with a tower in a couple of years. And it's really cool.