New On-Demand Webinar: Working with Webtop!

by Peter_vdL Motorola 07-06-2011 12:59 PM - edited 07-06-2011 12:59 PM

It's always exciting when a new form-factor computing device appears.  I'm thinking of devices like smartphones themselves, netbooks, and tablets.   For each of those categories, there was a time when the first product appeared, then there was a period of developer education and engagement, finally the product category became well established with lots of innovative software available.


The lapdock docking station for the ATRIX smartphone is just such a new form-factor device.  In a single sentence, the lapdock provides a large screen and a full-size keyboard, enabling users to carry out any task on their phone, that they currently do using their desktop browser.   In the office where I work, some people use their ATRIX-plus-lapdock as their main computer.  They come into work in the morning, put the phone into the lapdock, and then start work.  While the ATRIX battery automatically recharges from the lapdock, they read and send email, update their calendar, and work on documents and presentations in the cloud.  At the end of the day, they unplug their ATRIX phone, and take it home with them.


The software that makes all this possible is called the "webtop application".  When you dock the ATRIX into the lapdock, the webtop application starts automatically.  It runs the full Firefox desktop browser under Linux (not as an Android app), and displays the browser on the large lapdock screen.   Any Firefox plugins or extensions that run on the ARM Linux desktop version of Firefox will work under the webtop application.  This puts a very powerful desktop browser at your fingertips, without having to carry a tablet-sized device all the time.


 The ATRIX smartphone, docked in a lapdock


We are now squarely in that all important phase of "developer education and engagement" for the ATRIX and the lapdock.  The novel and interesting apps that take advantage of a smart phone that also has an 11.5" screen are still under development.   New developers still have the chance to have an impact, with apps that run on this hardware.  You can develop conventional Android apps, or you can write apps using the latest HTML 5 to target the desktop browser.


I recently recorded a webinar titled "Taking Advantage of Webtop - How HTML 5 Improves the User Experience". In the webinar, I explain in detail how to program certain features of the ATRIX phone, and how to use HTML 5 to write apps that use the desktop browser.   If you are at all interested in this innovative new hardware, you'll find some hands-on coding examples to point you in the right direction.     You can also review this article in our technical library for more details of the Webtop Application.   Please use the comment form below if you have any questions or feedback.  Thanks!


Peter van der Linden

Android Technology Evangelist

by Ed Greenberg(anon) on 10-23-2011 03:14 PM :

Developers cannot create new native webtop applications.


Well this is a disappointment, or as I just tweeted, "Feh!" 


One hopes that this will change.  I'd like to do system administration tasks on the lapdock when paged while on call. SSH would be really nice, so we don't have to use connectbot.



by Peter_vdL Motorola on 10-24-2011 02:22 PM

Hi Ed,


Thanks for your comment.  I have passed your suggestion on to the product manager.



    Android Technology Evangelist

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