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Evan Blass: Motorola could be developing DeX-like 'ModBook' laptop Moto Mod

Motorola's Android-based desktop UI. (Source: Evan Blass)
Motorola's Android-based desktop UI. (Source: Evan Blass)
Evan Blass has received images of a desktop-like Android-based environment that has been in development at Motorola. Blass received a tip, including supporting images, from a graphic designer who has been working on the project.

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Motorola could be working on turning its phones into laptops with a new Moto Mod accessory dubbed the 'ModBook.' Serial tipster Evan Blass has received screenshots of an Android-based desktop environment from a graphic designer who was working on the UI. The idea behind the approach is to create a new Moto Mod accessory that would integrate and be powered by a Motorola smartphone.

This idea is, of course, not new. Samsung has its DeX Android desktop experience for its Galaxy S8, Note 8 and S9 series smartphones that allows users to hook up their device to a dock that connects to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Recently, Razer unveiled Project Linda, which situates its Razer Phone in the space where a mouse would otherwise occupy to offer similar functionality to a Windows-based laptop.

However, it was actually Motorola that was one of the first to pioneer the concept of tapping into the power of a smartphone to power a laptop experience. The accessory was called a Lapdock and was powered by the Motorola Atrix, which sat in a cradle tucked behind a laptop “dumb” terminal. Of course, for a smartphone released in 2011, the execution and effectiveness were not what one might have hoped.

Blass is of the view that the would-be ModBook accessory is an idea that still has momentum with Motorola parent company Lenovo. Unfortunately, at this stage, there are no details on what the ModBook looks like or how it would integrate the smartphone into the design. The Razer Project Linda concept allows users to use the touchscreen display of the Razer Phone as the trackpad, which would be the way to go.

Motorola continues to struggle financially, so it is the kind of project that could easily end up on the scrapheap of great ideas that never made it to market. There is no doubt that Motorola’s Moto Mods are a great idea. Let’s hope it takes the gamble and brings the ModBook to market. It might be the tipping point the company needs to get customers back in numbers.

Motorola's Atrix-based Lapdock from 2011. (Source: Motorola)
Motorola's Atrix-based Lapdock from 2011. (Source: Motorola)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 08 > Evan Blass: Motorola could be developing DeX-like 'ModBook' laptop Moto Mod
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2018-08- 9 (Update: 2018-08- 9)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have been particularly interested in all things Apple, but also enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture.