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Home / Technology / Motorola is the latest to launch an Android desktop, and that’s good news for Chromebooks

Motorola is the latest to launch an Android desktop, and that’s good news for Chromebooks



It has been quite a few years since Samsung first introduced the Dex to the world, and since then a few other companies have also tried their hand at that Android desktop. At this point, Huawei and LG in particular have their own versions of a Dex-like Android desktop that give users a window interface to run apps when anchored to a screen with a keyboard. The idea is not new, but it has fascinated tech enthusiasts over the years, although so far there is no widespread application of this method for mobile / desktop hybrid computing.

One of the first groundbreaking technical announcements I remember from a CES event was back in 201

1 when Motorola announced the fateful Atrix 4G. The device was packed with all kinds of new technologies at the time, but especially for me it came with an optional laptop dock that could transform the phone into a workstation with keyboard, trackpad and window-based user interface. Although it did not turn out to be very good or useful in practice, it was a pretty fantastic turn and miss at the moment.

Motorola Atrix 4G

Fast forward to 2020 and with Android 10+, we now have a version of the operating system that fully supports Windows interfaces, even if the apps it runs do not always match. This gives flexibility to interfaces like Dex to be better at a basic level without the manufacturer having to work so hard to get Android to play together. With the added capability, phone manufacturers are starting to take advantage of offering desktop setup in the software and the company that did it seems to be taking a new step towards it.

Although not completely unveiled, Motorola seems to be launching a new desktop Android solution with the latest handsets. At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit just yesterday, a new version of a desktop interface was unveiled on a Motorola phone as an announcement of the 10th generation MotoG handset with Snapdragon processors was briefly talked about.

Motorola's suggested desktop mode
Motorola’s New Android Desktop – Photo Credit: PC Mag

Is this huge news? On its own, not really. Even with more phone manufacturers building in desktop mode, we’re probably not about to take an Android phone-as-desktop takeover. Instead, this is just a move that shows more and more attention towards being paid to Android apps in a desktop scenario. Clearly for us, Chrome OS is the better version of a desktop environment for Android apps to take advantage of, but we are happy to see any development that shines a light on Android used on a window pane. ->

As more and more of this continues to happen, Android developers need to take seriously the fact that users use their apps on larger screens with connected keyboards and pointing devices. Chromebooks have not been able to move the needle too much at this time, and we do not have many solid Android tablets to help with this work, so new cases are welcome. The way I see it, the more the better. If the desktop user interface begins to become the norm for Android phones, app development will be forced to adapt to support the new norm.

We recently reported on the upcoming move for Android 11, and how it will positively impact the quality of Windows Android apps on Chromebooks, but these improvements can only go so far on the OS side of things. We need developers to realize that their apps are used in desktop scenarios and make the adjustments needed to create better experiences. I’m hope that when we see more and more phone manufacturers sending a desktop mode, these improvements follow. With better app management and desktop-optimized apps, the experience of using Android on your Chromebook will only get better.


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