Posts Tagged motorola

New life for an old lapdock

The thought of a ‘pocket computer’ really intrigues me. Being able to carry my computer around in my pocket but then being able to plug it into an larger dock and get a full-sized experience out of it sounds really cool. Imagine my excitement when Motorola came out with the Lapdock. I was on Verizon so I couldn’t get in on the original Atrix, but I got a Razr and immediately went out and got the Lapdock 500. Then there was the disappointment of actually running the Webtop application for the first time. From what I could tell they booted up a full linux distro then tried to run Firefox ontop of it. To say it was pokey is a complete understatement, it was unusable. However, I had heard that the Razr was due for a major upgrade in ICS and so I kept my fingers crossed.

The Ice Cream Sandwich update came and I hesitantly plugged the Razr into the Lapdock. It switched display mode and started behaving like a tablet. The keyboard worked good, and it was finally usable as a netbook. That’s all I really wanted, just a simple netbook-like experience, nothing crazy. After using it for a while I started to encounter annoyances. The trackpad was on all the time, so when I was typing I would bump it and move the cursor. Sometimes it just freezes, for no reason, so I have to reboot the phone. It was still usable in my opinion thought.

I started thinking about what is going to happen if I were to ever change my phone. Then I realized that the life of the lapdock was tied to the phone. This just wouldn’t do, it’s a nice piece of hardware and I would hate to just have to throw it away. Then I found this article: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/21/3105822/motorola-lapdock-hacked-raspberry-pi-rikomagic. I should have never doubted the modder community, of course the Raspberry Pi could breathe life into my laptdock! There were other options I had never heard of as well. I am actually looking forward to getting this project going in the near future. We will see if I can follow-up with some articles on my experience. There have to be enough lapdocks out there that someone might find it interesting.

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Lapdock 500

Ever since Motorola came out with the Atrix and the original lapdock I have been enamored with the idea of a ‘pocket computer.’ Not so much the idea of having computer in my pocket, I was doing that with my old Texas Instruments calculator 15 years ago. More the idea of having the computer I could do daily computeree stuff with, check my email, play a game, create an office document..you know the drill. My first foray into the lapdock was a disaster, it was slow, clunky, and didn’t do more than run Firefox..poorly. My RAZR was upgraded to ICS over the weekend and with it came the upgrade to Webtop 3, and let me say it is a whole new experience.

Gone is the old mini-Linux disto that would have to boot up and hog all the memory only to run a single Webtop application. Now Android switched to tablet mode and most of the zip of the phone is still there. Applications now stretch to fill the screen and the particularly smart applications switch to a tablet mode to take advantage of the expanded screen size. There are still some bugs with the system, for example the touchpad doesn’t disable when I am typing so every couple of words the cursor jumps around and I am suddenly typing someplace else. The system can become a little slow at times, but it’s nothing you wouldn’t encounter with a netbook.

I have been customizing my new Webtop and playing with it to determine its capabilities and I am continually impressed with how far it has come since 2.0. If Motorola keeps this up I see the Webtop becoming a huge selling point for Motorola phones. At least…it will be for me 🙂 Oh, and this post was done on the lapdock with the WordPress for Android app.

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