Hardware

Motorola Lapdock Teardown: Tiny motherboard, no HDMI output

Bill Detwiler cracks open the Motorola Droid Bionic Lapdock--a Webtop accessory that pushes the convergence of the smartphone and PC one step closer.

In September 2011, Verizon added a fourth device to its growing lineup of 4G LTE smartphones--the Motorola Droid Bionic. Like the Motorola Atrix, released in April, the Bionic supports the Motorola Lapdock accessory. The Lapdock is basically a large docking station complete with keyboard, LCD screen, and trackpad. It's nearly identical to the Atrix Lapdock, but the two are not compatible. Jason Hiner reviewed the Atrix and Lapdock.

After cracking open the Bionic, I was interested to examine the hardware inside the Lapdock. From the outside, it looks like an ultrathin laptop, and I wondered if the internal hardware would also be the same. It was, with a few notable exceptions.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Motorola Droid Bionic Lapdock

Cracking Open observations

  • Standard Phillips #00 screws: I was able to remove all the Lapdock's external and internal screws with a Phillips #00 screwdriver.
  • Laptop-like construction: If it weren't for the phone cradle and forward position of the lid hinges, the Lapdock would be indistinguishable from an average ultra-portable laptop.
  • Interchangeable phone cradle: As I noted above, the Atrix and Bionic Lapdocks have connectors that are specifically designed for their respective phones. You can't connect a Bionic to an Atrix Lapdock. But other than their phone cradles, the Lapdocks appear to be identical. I haven't cracked open the Atrix Lapdock, but I wouldn't be surprised if Bionic version was an exact copy with a different phone cradle.
  • Incredibly small motherboard: Given that the Lapdock lacks a CPU, RAM, and storage module, it doesn't need a large motherboard. In fact, the Lapdock has one of the smallest motherboards I've seen on a laptop-sized device.
  • No HDMI output: The Lapdock has two USB 2.0 ports, but no HDMI output. Given that you can use the Bionic's HD Station accessory to pass HDMI video output from the phone to a TV and monitor, it would have been nice to do the same with the Lapdock. Many laptop users have external monitors. I use a 32-inch TV as a second monitor for my MacBook Pro.

Internal hardware

Our Droid Bionic Lapdock had the following hardware:

Update 12/19/2011: This post originally appeared in our TR Dojo blog.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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