Motorola confirms Webtop is dead

Motorola confirms Webtop is dead

Summary: Motorola has confirmed that Webtop, technology that allowed some of its Android smartphones to be docked to a PC, notebook or TV hub, is dead. Cause of death listed is weak adoption, but cost cuts are also likely to be a reason.

SHARE:

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.

Topics: Android, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

4 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If by dock you mean the keyboard, display, and battery I dont think

    $129 is at all unreasonable. But an enterprise would have to make a big commitment to this.. TO be viable theyd have to sprinkle these $129 docks all around the org and everyone would have to have the atrix to make them anything but paperweights. Who in their right mind would have any confidence in moto to keep the capability going forward. Every year or two youd need to replace all the atrixs with newers phones because theyd be falling behind on smartphone features. As soon as the new motos stop working with the docs you have a ton of useless docks. Like about now.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Motorola Was Never About The Products, But The Patents

    Remember why Google bought Motorola: it was for its 17,000-strong patent portfolio, not for its actual mobile-device business. That was never very strong. But Google needs patents to fight off attacks against Android.

    My only worry is that patents can be used offensively as well as defensively.
    ldo17
    • Never very strong????

      they practically invented the cell phone market - turned cell phones into fashion accessories with the startac, resurged with the razr becoming the best selling clam shell phone in history. Followed by the droid phones which had siginificant sales peaks with the original droid and droid X.

      Perhaps they arent as strong now - but to say they were never very strong is ludicrous
      georgef
  • Android 4.2+ is making webtop redundant

    Multi-user Android is on the horizon. This and some other improvements should provide a unified desktop - laptop - tablet - phone environment. I expect this is the direction of big G, and this makes webtop redundant.
    z_mikowski