Flashback: Motorola Atrix 4G and Webtop -The First Scalable Desktop Phone中文

2021-07-03 16:58:43 | Source: | Writer:Lance
In 2011, when Motorola was still a company under the name of Google, it launched many products that almost disrupted the industry. Among them, Atrix 4G is the earliest Android phone that supports additional extended desktops. Motorola was proud to call it

In 2011, when Motorola was still a company under the name of Google, it launched many products that almost disrupted the industry. Among them, Atrix 4G is the earliest Android phone that supports additional extended desktops. Motorola was proud to call it "the future of mobile computing."

We were lucky enough to find an Atrix 4G AT&T version, and the matching Webtop docking station. This concept of extending a mobile phone into a computer is 5 years earlier than HP Elite x3, 6 years earlier than Samsung DeX, and 8 years earlier than Huawei Share.

Phone itself

First of all, let's put aside Webtop, let's show the phone itself.

The power button of Atrix 4G is placed on the top of the machine obliquely, which is different from many Android phones with horizontal power button at that time. Now we never see an Android phone with the power button on the top again.

Atrix 4G is equipped with NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor. Back then, there were quite a few manufacturers producing processors for Android phones, and NVIDIA was also doing it. Tegra 2 is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 core processor with a main frequency of 1.2GHz. Compared with the Qualcomm processor of the same period, the performance is more powerful.

1GB RAM plus 16GB ROM was considered a flagship level configuration at the time, but today, it can only be used as the entry barrier for low-end machines. The quality of the rear 5-megapixel camera is very average.

Atrix 4G is equipped with Android 2.2 Froyo when it leaves the factory. The AT&T version we reviewed is equipped with Android 2.3 Gingerbread-the outbreak of Android manufacturers began with this version; the birth of MIUI also began with this version. This secondary desktop with 5-7 pages plus a separate application drawer button is the general form of Android phone desktops before MIUI was born.

As the AT&T version, the built-in language does not have Chinese. Although Atrix 4G supports flashing third-party ROM to be able to use Chinese.

Due to the age of Android 2.3, it is difficult for us to download apps for this version. Because the system API of Android 2.3 is quite scarce, developers must make up for it by themselves, and the improvement of the API is the beginning of Android 4.4.

The difference between Atrix 4G and other Android phones of the same period is that in addition to the Micro USB interface on the left side, there is also an independent Micro HDMI interface that can be used with Micro HDMI to HDMI to connect to TV projection. It is precisely because of the existence of this interface that Atrix 4G has its own unique function-Webtop extension.

Webtop: Exclusive feature of Atrix 4G

Atrix 4G has a matching notebook-shaped docking station, which is the true face of Webtop. Webtop is equipped with an 11.5-inch 1366x768 resolution TN display, a dedicated power port, two additional USB ports and a dock port for connecting to a mobile phone. There is a battery button at the bottom of the Webtop, which allows you to view the battery level of the Webtop in real time. Looking at Webtop from a distance, it looks a lot like a thin and light laptop launched by Motorola.

Webtop itself does not have a power button. To light it up, you have to connect Atrix 4G to the Webtop dock interface so that it will automatically be lit and enter the Webtop operating system of Atrix 4G.

The Webtop operating system is a Linux subsystem independent of Android, so the system interface is also very different. However, even if it is a subsystem, you can still use the touchpad and keyboard to operate the phone's own Android system under this system, both of which operate at the same time. Multiple applications running at the same time under Android will be displayed in the form of tabs, just like mainstream web browsers. Therefore, in 2011, there was no need to worry about the lack of applications.

If you want to invest in Android games, you can also maximize the Android window, and then run the horizontal screen Android game. Seang Chau, the vice president of Motorola at the time, even showed up in public to play Need for Speed Shift with Webtop, and said with a smile, "This is the world's first laptop with gravity sensing operation"-what he said is true, that is, once full screen Running frame drop will be very serious.

The Linux subsystem has fewer built-in applications, but it can fully meet office needs. For lightweight considerations, the built-in browser of Webtop is Firefox 8.0. In 2011, with this browser, Google Docs and Microsoft Office Online can be accessed smoothly (there was no Office 365 at that time) to solve productivity needs. With a built-in mail receiving and sending application and a practical file manager, it can meet the needs of business people on business trips. It's just that the 8.0 version is too old, it has no way to support today's relatively complex websites, and there is no way to update to the latest version.

Extended application: Let Webtop use its waste heat

Today, 8 years later, Atrix 4G has long become an obsolete product, unable to cope with today's applications. As a subsidiary product of Webtop, is there any good way to let it use its waste heat?

The answer is yes. The docking station interface used for Atrix 4G is essentially a USB Hub with a Micro USB interface and a Micro HDMI male connector. They are not proprietary interfaces, but interfaces that comply with corresponding standards. Therefore, we only need to transfer them out, and then they can be used for modern purposes.

On the omnipotent Taobao, we can buy the adapter cable from Micro HDMI female to HDMI male to solve the output problem of connecting modern HDMI equipment. As for the Micro USB interface, we can also buy an adapter cable from Micro USB female to USB male. Combining the two, you can let it use the residual heat.

For example, with a docking station like Microsoft’s Display Dock, you can make it support modern Android phones that support desktop extensions and Windows 10 Mobile phones that support Continuum. In 2011, Type-C has not yet been born, and the significance of this transfer is very significant. In fact, because of the definition of Type-C, it can be made into a very small transfer box.

If you only rely on two adapter cables, you can also solve the problem of the Raspberry Pi's screen output. For the Raspberry Pi 4, the HDMI part can use the Micro HDMI extension cable, so this set of adapters can effectively replace the expensive Pi-top and become an excellent debugging tool for the Raspberry Pi.

Webtop 连接树莓派(图片来自 RMPrepUSB)Webtop 连接树莓派(图片来自 RMPrepUSB)

Use a game console to make a small display. I have seen many friends who carry home consoles such as PS4 to the scene to play in Manzhan, and the matching mini-monitors often do not have batteries, and their own protection is very inadequate, and they are easily damaged during transportation. Using Webtop instead of monitors can solve this problem-although many friends now bring Nintendo Switch to play.


Motorola's classic products really have more than blades. Before being sold by Google, Motorola, in addition to stacking the hardware configuration on the product, also introduced the desktop extension function very far ahead, although it could not replace the PC like later products.

After that, including today when it was acquired by Lenovo, although Motorola still has mobile phones that can expand the hardware, it has never launched a product that can expand the desktop and create productivity. If you as a reader are using Samsung DeX, Smartisan TNT or Huawei Share, please don’t forget, although there was Palm Foleo that only stopped in concept before, Motorola was the first to extend the mobile phone to desktop applications. Manufacturers.

今天的华为 ShareToday's Huawei Share

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