When I first received the Droid Bionic from Verizon, I fell in love. This phone was the single most powerful mobile I had used to date. And when I received the HD Station, I wondered how useful it could be to business users. At first blush, the HD Station looked like a teen dream for streaming goofy, pointless YouTube videos onto a high definition screen.
But what about displaying business-friendly tools? Well, when you plug the HD Station into an HD screen (Micro HDMI cable required), the Bionic interface appears on the screen -- but that's not all this baby features:
- Three USB ports: Use your standard peripherals with your Droid or plug in a flash drive
- Speaker output: Plug in your external speakers for better sound
- Remote: Easily control your mobile without having to hold or tap the device
Here's how this device works:
- Plug in the power to the base
- Plug the Micro HDMI cable into the base
- Plug the Micro HDMI cable into the HD device
- Insert the Bionic onto the HD Station (see Figure A)
The HD Station with the Bionic mounted and remote ready to play.
When the Bionic wakes, the Motorola Webtop will trigger, displaying the webtop experience from the Bionic to the HD screen. Now, this also changes the Bionic interface from the standard desktop into a touchpad. With that touchpad, you can move a cursor around on the HD display to interact. There's also a virtual keypad that can be used to enter text.
But don't think you have to use the touchpad to interact with the device. As I mentioned earlier, there are two alternate ways to do this. The first is by taking advantage of the USB ports on the back of the station. Here, you can plug in a mouse and keyboard so that the Bionic acts in a similar fashion to that of a standard desktop.The second alternative method is to use the remote (see Figure B). The remote offers four cursor buttons (set in a circle) as well as the Menu, Home, and Back buttons that are common to the Android handset. Also found on the remote are Back, Play, Forward, Up, Down, and Mute buttons. Figure B
As you can see, this HD Station is made specifically for the Droid Bionic.
You do not need the keyboard or mouse connected to use the Webtop. But if you plan on using this HD Station as a pseudo-permanent projector for showing presentations or promotional/educational videos, you might want to invest in a cheap mouse/keyboard, because the remote and Webtop touchpad can certainly slow down efficiency. Using the mouse/keyboard is the fastest way to navigate through the Webtop application.
The cost of the HD Station will run you anywhere from $64.00 to $99.00 (USD), depending on where and when you shop. You will also need the Micro HDMI cable, which will cost you anywhere from $5.00 to $15.00 (USD).
Not just for YouTube
Although many people might see the HD Station as nothing more than a means to watch YouTube on a 60" HD television, there are many useful applications for this device:
- Lectures or presentations where projectors are not available
- Mobile PR machines (so long as there is an HD screen available)
- Demonstrating software (either Android or web-based)
Ultimately, the HD Station does a great job of showing off just how powerful the Droid Bionic really is. If you're looking for a simple way to have your Bionic work with an HD screen, it doesn't get much easier than the Droid Bionic HD Station.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.