Motorola’s Webtop dock is dead (It’s official)

Motorola Atrix 4G

Motorola has confirmed that the Webtop is dead. Don’t remember the Webtop? It allowed you to plug in your Motorola smartphone to a laptop shell and effectively convert it into a PC. When the company first showed it off with the original Motorola Atrix, we weren’t alone in thinking that the idea had some potential. Unfortunately, the price was too high and the device ended up being too limited and slow. It never took off, despite several revisions.

The Webtop originally launched as a dock for the Motorola Atrix 4G which hit AT&T in February 2011. It is now being scrapped going forward; starting with the Photon 4G, Droid Razr HD, Droid Razr M, and the Droid Razr Maxx HD no new Motorola smartphones are going to support the Webtop peripheral.

Speculation at CNET and Phone News suggests that Google is holding the smoking gun. The Motorola statement mentioned a lack of adoption and said “We have also seen development of the Android operating system focus on the inclusion of more desktoplike features.” So the development direction of the Android platform has rendered it obsolete. Android 4.0 smartphones can adapt themselves to larger screens without a custom second operating system being built in — a major weakness of the Webtop accessories. The lapdock may also have been killed off as part of a cost-cutting exercise at Motorola Mobility.

Pricing was Motorola’s first stumbling block. Despite some critical plaudits, the first Webtop dock cost $500. That eventually dwindled to below $200, but it was too late to spark any real interest. Why pay out for a lapdock when you can buy a cheap laptop for the same price?

There was an expectation that it would be an ideal purchase for business travelers because they wouldn’t need to carry a separate laptop. Instead, they could just plug in their smartphone and get to work. It simply never caught on. With the meteoric rise of tablets, the chances of the lapdock taking off look even more remote so we aren’t surprised to see Motorola making this move.

We have reached out to Motorola for comment but have not heard back as of time of publication.

Update by Jeffrey VC 12:15pm: We asked Motorola representatives about the death of webtop. The official word is below.

“Motorola’s webtop app helps users extend their smartphone experience to larger screens. While consumers around the world have adopted webtop and the concept spurred a lot of innovation in the industry, the adoption has not been strong enough to justify continued resources being allocated to developing webtop on future devices. We have also seen development of the Android operating system focus on the inclusion of more desktop-like features. Beginning with Photon Q and Droid Razr M/Droid Razr HD/Droid Razr Maxx HD ATRIX HD, we will no longer be including webtop on our products moving forward.”


Article originally published at 8:45am.

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