As the smartphone market becomes increasingly crowded, manufacturers looked for ways to differentiate their products from others on the market. Motorola's bright idea at differentiating its Android smartphones from the competition was called Webtop, technology that allowed some of its Android smartphones to be docked to a PC, notebook or TV hub.
Webtop allowed smartphones such as the Atrix 4G or Photon Q to use the PC's screen and keyboard, offering a richer user experience, bridging the gap between the PC and the smartphone. Initially, Motorola said the device had the potential to replace the notebook for road warriors, using web apps and accessing data that lived in the cloud.
Using the Lapdock hardware, the PC could be cut out of the equation altogether, because this device featured its own screen, keyboard, and even an internal battery pack. You simply slid the appropriate Android smartphone into the dock, and the Webtop software did the rest.
But it seemed not enough people were interested in hooking up their Motorola smartphones to a PC to make the concept a viable one.
According to a statement issued by Motorola, which is now a unit of Google, "adoption has not been strong enough to justify continued resources being allocated to developing Webtop on future devices". Part of this problem was down to the price, which came to $500 for the handset and the dock -- the dock itself priced at a rather eye watering $129.
This undoubtedly put a damper on adoption.
Motorola also claims that "the inclusion of more desktoplike features" into the Android mobile operating system has diminished the need for Webtop.
The problem with technologies such as Webtop is that they need to gain significant traction -- and fast -- if they have any chance of survival. The idea for the dock was sound, but the $129 price tag, along with limited availability, meant that appeal was very limited. And with Motorola now looking to cut costs, it makes sense for the company to bring an end to Webtop.
Image source: Motorola.