DIY Continuum Lapdock (Part 1)

I’ve been really excited about the HP Elite x3 Lapdock since it was announced. It’s recently become available for normal people to purchase, but they want $599 for it. If I were a business and were buying a phone, lapdock, desktop dock, and keyboard/mouse, the bundle price would be an amazing deal. But by itself, the lapdock is way too expensive for me to consider: I could buy a real laptop for $599 and use the Windows 10 Anniversary Update’s projection target feature.

The NexDock is about the price point that I’m willing to pay, but unfortunately, they aren’t for sale outside of the now complete Kickstarter campaign. Bummer. But it got me thinking — could I repurpose a cheap Motorola lapdock? A few years ago, Motorola tried the “one device that’s every device” idea and failed miserably because it ran a variant of Ubuntu rather than Windows. As a result, you can get old Motorola lapdocks for less than $100, fully refurbished and as a complete kit. I ordered mine from eBay for $50.

Of course, you can’t just plug your Continuum-capable Windows 10 Mobile device into the Motorola lapdock. You need a USB-C to HDMI+USB dongle of some sort (could be a Microsoft Display Dock, I’ve bought the cheapest Chinese adapter I could find because I intend on tearing it down). You also need a mess of adapters to convert the lapdock’s connectors to something you can plug into the adapter.

I’m waiting on stuff to arrive, but I’ll post new articles as different pieces of the puzzle show up. Maybe I’ll make a video of the whole set up once I have something working. I’m also really curious if the cheap Chinese adapter works with my Lumia 950 XL and does audio over HDMI. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to get another adapter, but it should work. And if this set up is something that I enjoy, I’ll probably hack it all together into one unit so I don’t have to have a crazy mess of cables to use the Continuum feature. Stay tuned!

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