In addition to the few Moto Mods that are available at launch for Motorola’s Moto Z and Moto Z Force smartphones, there were a some concept Mods on display at the show floor. One of these concepts is called OneCompute, and it connects the Moto Z or Moto Z Force phone to a display so that works just like a computer desktop. It sounds like Microsoft’s Continuum has a competitor.
A Two-Step Process
Just like the other Moto Mods, OneCompute has its own modular device that attaches to the back of the smartphone. However, that’s not the only piece of the puzzle. After the mod is attached, the phone is placed on a dock that’s connected to a hub that has three USB 3.0 slots, an HDMI port and a power slot.
At first glance, it seems like the dock doesn’t have any special purpose, but you would be wrong. The combination of the mod and dock is how data is sent and how the phone’s UI is displayed on another screen (via an HDMI connection, of course). On top of that, it also charges your phone while it's connected.
Obviously, the “desktop” version isn’t identical to the original mobile UI. According to Xiaobing Guo, the project leader for OneCompute, the developers made changes to the launcher program. The result is that the desktop UI adapts well to the big screen. What usually is three pages on the phone is combined into one screen on the monitor. Guo said that the mod allows multi-tasking and multi-window programs from the phone.
In this desktop mode, you’ll have to use a keyboard and mouse to properly navigate home screen and each program. At the demo, Guo connected both peripherals to the phone via Bluetooth, and surprisingly there was little latency as he moved the mouse across the screen or typed some words from the keyboard.
A wired connection is preferable in many ways to a wireless one, and it’s even more important for a keyboard and mouse. However, Guo said that the ports aren’t ready yet as the mod is still in its concept phase. Still, three USB ports are more than enough to connect the essential peripherals whether you’re writing a report, playing a game or hosting a video conference call.
The Long Wait
Even though it’s still just a concept, OneCompute is a mod worth noting. The idea of your phone acting a desktop computer has been around for quite some time. Last year, Microsoft pushed forward in that regard with Continuum, which works only on some Windows Phones. This past February, Ubuntu also made strides to unify its OS across multiple devices with the “Convergence” feature. With OneCompute, Android joins the duo and gives future Moto Z and Moto Z Force users the ability to have desktop-like capabilities with a smartphone and mod.
All you have to do now is wait. It’s unclear as to how it will be until OneCompute is ready for consumers, but what Guo showed at Lenovo Tech World shows some promise.