Google may have this Chromebook thing all wrong. Luckily, Motorola Mobility, soon to be owned by Google, may have a better solution. It's quite possible that Google's Android plus Motorola Mobility's Webtop solves the search giant's Chromebook conundrum.
TechRepublic's Jason Hiner, writing on CNET News, provided an in-depth back story to Motorola Mobility's Webtop. AT&T made a splash with the Motorola Atrix and a dock that could turn an Android phone into a laptop. The pricing was off, but it was a good first effort. I tested one and could see the possibilities once a few things---quad core chips for example---fell in line.
Now this Webtop is being sprinkled into the enterprise via Verizon. And the dock has gone corporate too. Hiner explains:
While the original Lapdock was thin, slick, and brushed metallic, the Lapdock 500 Pro had a more utilitarian look in the mode of a MacBook Pro or a business-class HP laptop. Most importantly, Motorola finally got the price right. The original Lapdock was $499. Motorola sells the Lapdock 500 for $349, but the price at Amazon and other retailers is $249. Verizon regularly sells it for $149 when a customer buys it with a Motorola smartphone.
The big question is what Google will do with Motorola's Webtop technology. For starters, Google could use the Webtop to revamp its approach to the Chromebook. Today, the Chromebook is a laptop with a browser. Google recently tweaked the Chrome OS to look more like traditional operating systems on the desktop.
Hiner noted that Google could integrate Motorola Mobility's Webtop directly into Android. The outcome would be that all Android phones could act as PC replacements.
If this scenario plays out, Google could popularize the Chromebook, which hasn't exactly become a best seller about a year after launch. Today, Google is trying to fashion a browser/OS to run a cloud laptop. What if the Chromebook ultimately is merely a docking station for Android devices?
The consumer play for this Android/Webtop/ChromeOS hybrid will be elusive, but businesses are going to be interested. That outcome may be good enough for Google, which has been trying to take the Chromebook corporate for the last year or so.