$100 Laptop Shell to Support Smartphones, USB Type-C PC Sticks, and SBCs (Crowdfunding)

Launched in 2011, Motorola Lapdock turned the company’s Atrix 4G smartphone into an Android laptop, but it did not end up being a commercial success so the company stopped manufacturing the laptop shell a few years ago.

It is still used by hobbyist for example to create their own DIY Raspberry Pi laptop, and in recent years, with phoned getting much more powerful and desktop support for Android improving, lookalikes have been launched such as NextDock or Mirabook. A new option will soon be available, as Charbax known for his armdevices.net website and YouTube channel has just launched an Indiegogo campaign for a $100 Lapdock.

$100 Laptop shell
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Two models will be available with Lapdock 11.6″, and Lapdock 14.1″ referring to their size, but sadly no other specifications were provided for the display.

We still know they’ll work with Samsung Dex / Linux on Dex modes, Huawei PC mode, and basically any device with a USB type-C with DisplayPort Alternate mode, as well as others with HDMI output. One of the most interesting aspects of the project is planned support for USB type-C PC sticks / cards to be plugged inside the laptop shell. The Indiegogo campaign now lists one based on Snapdragon 820, and another powered by Amlogic S905X2 processor.

Software-wise, they’ll work with Auxens to implement OXI Windows-like  Android desktop mode on several phones and boards. You’ll see the working Lapdock 14.1″ prototype in the video, as well as the 11.6″ which is still under development and should be operational in about two months.

Lapdock has been a registered trademark since 2011 however, so if Motorola/Lenovo lawyers take action there will be a name change. In my experience, such infractions do not put the project at risk, and the situation is resolved as follows:

  1. Lawyers contact the company / Indiegogo about the violation.
  2. The company / Indiegogo change the name in the crowdfunding page and website.
  3. The company contacts all media outlets who posted about the project asking them to remove references to the trademark in the article
  4. Problem solved.

The crowdfunding page is a bit all over the place as they do not only focus on the Lapdocks and custom USB type-C sticks / cards, but also offer an USB-C to HDMI adapter, a power bank, and Rock960 RK3399 SBC with 4GB RAM. Nevertheless, early bird pricing for the Lapdock 11.6″ starts at $100, and $150 for the 14.1″ version, while the S905X2 USB-C stick is offered for $50, and the Snapdragon 820 one for $120. Shipping for the Lapdock adds $30 worldwide, and delivery is scheduled for April 2019.

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7 Replies to “$100 Laptop Shell to Support Smartphones, USB Type-C PC Sticks, and SBCs (Crowdfunding)”

    1. $299 for that Miraxess Dex dock? Are they high?

      You can buy a whole laptop with similar or better battery life for the same price, and that’s shipping today (Chromebook with 1080p screen, CHUWI, PineBook, etc) not some fluff “pre-order” which will inevitably slip because manufacturing and logistics are hard.

      Look at the Superbook for example, they cost $100 less than Miraxess for the 1080p version ($199 instead of $299) and Superbook are shipping now, despite being a YEAR behind schedule.

      This lapdock thing is a niche market at best, because anyone with enough money to drop $199/$299 on a lapdock likely has enough money to buy a MacBook or similar PC Ultrabook. Between the choice of carrying a useless shell that needs my phone, or carrying a much more powerful laptop that doesn’t require a phone to use, I know I’ll pick the laptop any day of the week.

      I never understand the price point of these things, or the investors that give these companies funding after hearing their pitch. If Pine64 can make a 1080p version of their PineBook for $99 USD, what is the value add of these empty shells that cost 2-3x more than a fully functional ARM laptop?

      If these lapdocks ever get popular enough for China to commoditise them (and I seriously doubt that will happen, look at how successful the Motorola Lapdock and everything that followed has been) these people are going to be out of business in a Guangzhou second. These price points are a total joke.

  1. One way to defend the lapdock word use it to give his product another name and then use the term lapdock generically as in describe a class of device. But he needs to give his product a name.

    I also agree that the campaign description is jumbled confusion. He is assuming too much knowledge on the buyer’s behalf, he needs to spend more time explaining the basic concept of a lapdock. This was the first time I’d ever heard of it. I’d suggest adding some drawings that clearly represent the various combinations.

    I’m also not clear if the lapdock has a normal HDMI/Displayport jack on it, he does not mention it when he covers the ports at the end of the video. Without a normal HDMI/Displayport jack you won’t be able to use this as an external laptop display with most laptops since they lack USB-C Alt-mode support. For example my ASUS laptop has USB-C support but it does not support Alt-mode.

  2. Libre Computer has been working on this concept for as an extension Renegade Elite for more than a year now. The challenge is supporting both HDMI alt mode and DP alt mode and getting a really good mold and keyboard. You need huge volumes in order for a factory to manufacture it and to justify costs. The shells/keyboards on the market are flimsy and cheap and not well suited.

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