The death of the Lapdock: The post-PC future that won't be

The device that gave the post-PC vision a face is abandoned, but a variation of its promise could well survive

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Motorola could continue to work on the Lapdock concept to find the right mix of capability and form, but Google's recent acquisition of Motorola all but ensured that would never happen. The Lapdock vision conflicts with Google's Chrome OS vision of cloud-only computing, though it fit in Google's Android vision of broad mobile computing. (It's always been clear that the Chrome OS and Android teams have nothing to do with each other, which is why their visions differ.)

Plus, the Lapdock uses Mozilla's Firefox browser running on the Moonlight open source version of Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application environment. Google is heavily staked to its Chrome browser, so a Firefox-based product could not survive. (Never mind Google's claims it will run Motorola as an independent company. That's as believable as Facebook saying it will guard your privacy. Google bought Motorola to use it, not merely own it.) Moonlight is dead, and Silverlight is fading. Even if Motorola wants to continue the Lapdock, it would have to start over -- and I can't imagine Google's management allowing that given its large investment in Chrome OS.

If the Lapdock returns one day, it could be as a Chromebook or Chromebox device that lets you dock an Android smartphone to it directly or via short-range radio. In a sense, Apple does that for iOS devices via iTunes, but it's too restrictive a connection. Google could do a more open approach, letting the two devices federate. But only if the Chrome OS and Android teams see that their two visions could overlap nicely into a version of that original post-PC vision. The fact that Google recently bought Quickoffice to provide a local client to its mobile-impaired Google Docs cloud service sugggests that maybe Google's various groups are learning to collaborate.

I hope Google tries to reinvent the Lapdock concept using its Android and Chrome arsenals, as that would provide a real alternative to the merged OS X/iOS vision that Apple has been delivering on. Choice is good.

This article, "The death of the Lapdock: The post-PC future that won't be," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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