Aug 01 AT 1:55 PM Dustin Earley 18 Comments

Motorola working to bring two new laptop dock models to market this year


Owning up to your mistakes in the mobile technology business is something no company wants to do. But sometimes it just has to be done. Such is the case with the Motorola Atrix and the ill-received webtop dock that came along with it.

Before the Atrix came out, it was hailed as some sort of sign AT&T was finally jumping on the Android bandwagon. The Atrix had specs like no other device before it, and the webtop dock looked simply amazing. Then it actually came out. While sales were less than stunning for Motorola’s early 2011 flagship device, the webtop dock was on a whole different level of bad. The price was so high and the hardware so lackluster, sales of Motorola’s first attempt at a laptop dock were almost nonexistent. To this day, the Atrix’s webtop dock costs $500 on Amazon. Not all hope for the webtop dock is gone though. During a recent earnings call with Sanjay Jha, the beans were spilled on how Motorola feels about the first webtop dock:  They messed up.

Of course it’s not as cut and dry as that, but Motorola knows it was too expensive and that one model didn’t fit everyone’s needs. In order for the project to work, they’ll have to change that. How you ask? By releasing not one, but two new models of webtop docks for future devices:

... I could start by saying we continued to do a lot of consumer testing of our webtop capability and we do the testing in enterprise. In both places, we see a lot of interest but believe it or not, the traction is actually greater for the webtop capabilities with the enterprise than it is with consumers. And what you will see us do is actually recognize that the pricing of our initial devices were little higher and you will see us introduce two tiers of laptops, lap docks rather. One in the lower tier to address the consumer needs and another higher tier to address the enterprise needs which the customers there are little less sensitive to pricing and much more careful about the capabilities that they receive.Sanjay JhaMotorola

In theory, two tiers of webtop dock would work out great. Both will have better trackpads and a better keyboard. Build quality should also be improved. But it’s ultimately going to come down to one thing:  price. If Motorola can’t find the sweet spot and get the new docks down cheap enough, they’ll undoubtedly meet the same fate their older sibling has–regardless of how much better the trackpad is.

While we’re on the subject, where is that sweet spot? Would a new $249 dock place one in your briefcase? Or are you looking to spend something closer to $99? With the Bionic slated to land this September, you can expect to see the new webtop docks around that time as well. Until then, I hope Moto’s listening. This may just be their last shot.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • http://blabla Rulob

    Heh its $500 dlls? omg here in mexico its at 2300 pesos (thats less than 200 US dlls) already with taxes xD… ill stop complaining about tech over here. Updates dont come as fast, but prices are decent (my asus eeepad transformer cost me less in best buy mexico than it would have at best buy in texas for example), then the galaxy S II comes out earlier here.

    WTB 4G, but im impressed prices are catching up.

  • Eric Farley

    the price needs to be between $100-$200 or it won’t sell to anyone other than to most of the iPhones market of customers that don’t know what their buying and just throw their money down the drain when buying tech. You can buy a netbook for $300-$500 that does all the same things and more, has a better build quality and more options. Anyone with half a brain when it comes to tech realized the docks are nothing more than a trackpad, monitor and keyboard in a case with a dock all of the expensive electronics like CPU, Memory and Hard drive are in the phone NOT the dock and we’re not being fooled into thinking the dock was the same thing as a netbook and therefor worth as much. If Motorola keeps trying to trick their customers into paying for hardware twice then their going to fail again. Oh and if the carriers want me to pay for data on my phone and the dock like AT&T did last time then it will fail. I pay for data on the phone its it and its the same data weather it is on the dock or the phone get out of my wallet AT&T!!

    • AME

      You have to pay dock data plans on AT&T?! This T-Mo merger is becoming scarier and scarier every day.

      • Ray

        No, you don’t. You can root (hack) the phone using simple instructions from and voala!

        You can plug in your atrix to your hdtv via hdmi and get the same features as you would plugging it in the laptop dock. + you will have internet from your phone. No tether plan is required.

        If you don’t know how to root. PAY someone if you have to. you will save a ton of money in the end. small price to pay for free tether. GL.

        • heeros

          well, I agree with you, but the sad thing is that At&t is requiring customers to upgrade to a tethering plan when purchasing the laptop dock as part of a plan. It’s a complete ripoff. since you’re not moving from your phone, you’re just extending the phone a little with a bigger screen, mouse and keyboard.

          Just because you change the form factor a little doesn’t mean they have the right to charge more for data. Is NOT tethering.

  • Coltsfan74

    Somewhere in the $150 range. The webtop dock could be a great accessorie when travelling and you don’t want to carry an actual laptop. But after dropping $250 + for the phone there is no way I would fork out another $500 so I can play Angry Birds on a big screen.

    Maybe with the Bionic they will have a package deal. Phone + Webdock for one price.

    • richard

      “The webtop dock could be a great accessorie when travelling and you don’t want to carry an actual laptop”

      either way you are still carrying something surely? and it’s power supply, and external mouse if you want one, and a case for it? It would probably be cheaper than the atrix dock as well?

  • AME

    A laptop style dock is only for convenience. It doesn’t offer any extra functionality to the phone other than making it easier to type documents and letting you watch video on a bigger screen. Both of those things can be done on the phone, but just on a smaller (size) scale. Unless the accessory adds something to the phone in a serious way, I wouldn’t pay more than the price of the phone. If the phone costs $250, I would go as high as $150 for a laptop dock.

  • PixelSlave

    Whether it’s $500, or $250, Motorola needs to recognize that I can buy a Samsung Tab 10.1 at a little bit more than 500!. Damn, an Asus Transformer can be had for $399! Or, how about a Nook Color at $249? And, I am pretty sure after Ice-Cream Sandwich is released, a whole bunch of cheap Android tablets can be owned for two cool 100 dollar bills.

    And they want to sell us a slow laptop dock for what?

    They’d better act fast — after the launch of the Droid, their offerings are getter worse and worse. And, you can tell that from their market share, which is falling behind both HTC and Samsung.

  • JayMonster

    And this should be the final undoing (unfortunately, not until after if fails of course) of Sanjay Jha.

    I took a lot of flak and had many comments voted down when o said this thing was a stinker. And two webtop will only provide for double the inventory glut.

    At least Palm was smart enough to can the Foleo when it became clear that nobody would buy a half-breed piece of junk like this, but Jha instead doubles down on a bad idea. Sad… really.

  • aj

    You know its really going to depend on exactly what it can do different than the first laptop dock. It was a super neat idea when i first heard about but then you realize its not that great for that price. I mean the phone ran better than the laptop dock. And was an overprice shell of a laptop that you had to get a tethering plan for. Screw that. Yeah honestly it would need the same if not more and improved features while still being around 99$. It really needs to be more fluid and useful before i throw out cash for one. And of course thats dependent if i even get a droid bionic since im really eyeing the SGS II. So only time will tell

  • Richard Yarrell

    Honestly I love the concept it’s such a great idea and a great thing motorola has done I definitely applaud them. I just wish this concept appeared for the next EVO BRAND in 2012 because thats all I support HTC/QUALCOMM/SPRINT and in that order. A switch from HTC to MOTOROLA I can’t imagine. For people who are supporters of motorola and love there products should not have to pay more that 250 for this accessories or they should discount the accessorie if that person wants the phone.

  • Paul

    I love the docking idea, finally another company other than apple has a dock for all its new phones. Other companys have done this in the past but then future phones from then did not have the same connection.

    I do hope all future motorola phones have the same hdmi & usb ports in the same place so you can spend £ buying the docks & then use them when you upgrade your phone is a year or 2.

  • paul

    The killer application for a dock is a gaming dock with wireless controller, connect the dock to your tv via hdmi, plug in your phone & sit on the sofa & play games on you large TV, this is the future & I think the killer dock that many would buy.

  • richard

    Big part of Motorolas problem is their applaing after sales customer care. Android updates are late, often buggy or in the case of the Dext and Cliq XT non-existent! The European Milestone (variant of the US Droid) was advertised as ‘flash ready’ and didn’t see a froyo update until 18 months down the line. This just isn’t good enough today and Motorolas facebook page and user forums are full of unhappy customers with issues that don’t get fixed, or replied to, and are leaving to try an HTC or Samsung or LG product instead.

    So moto can bring out superbly built products, but the returning customer base just isn’t there as the first time Android adopters for Motorola got bitten, and only a schmuck would come back for more. Motorola doesn’t seem to care though and is oblivious to the unrest from existing customers, expecting them to come back and upgrade further down the line, and it’s just not happening.

  • Jim

    As one of those who payed for the lapdock (but at significantly lower price) I can tell you it’s nearly useless. It can’t replace a tablet nor a laptop. Why? NO APPLICATIONS FOR BUSINESS USERS. The Linux version of Firefox is not supported for a lot of what I do either. Netflix doesn’t even work. I assumed that the applications that work on the phone would also work on the webtop. Nope. It’s can’t even handle simple note taking well so I could use it in a meeting. The Atrix is a fantastic phone in it’s own right but the Lapdock is a joke. It’s a great idea but not executed well.

    I was hoping Motorola would upgrade Webtop and make future phones compatible with the current docking station. I hear the Atrix will not work with new docks nor will new phones work with the current docks. Fail. I will not invest my hard earned money in technology that is as short lived as a cell phone.

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  • digitalyon

    I would like to shed a little light on my experience with the Atrix and the dock. I bought mine as a refurb from AT&T for 50 bucks 3 weeks ago. I overpaid! It may run a separate os for web, but that is it. I am not able to do anything else. And a tethering plan from att must be purchased if you are not using wifi. Only web apps can be added. What they failed is a true hdmi mirror to a shell tablet like the xoom. I have a galaxy 10.1 and it rocks. If I have to pay for tethering! It is for that device. The Atrix was capable of so much and more yet Motorola forfot about us and devised ways to get in bed with the carriers to nickle and dime us. All they had to do was leave the phone os alone and have a xoom device to slide into for a hdmi mirror. No second os needed. But due to this failure for one true device. Apple now may take it.