I’ll admit to lusting after the idea of the Motorola Atrix for the past month.
Announced at CES, the 4G phone runs Android atop a 1GHz dual-core processor, packs an entire gigabyte of RAM under the hood and sports a 4-inch, 960×540 resolution screen. It’s truly a tiny computer that’d give some netbooks a run for the money. As such, it kind of turns into a netbook itself.
Motorola will be selling an optional 11.6-inch laptop shell that’s completely powered by the actual phone. You pop the phone into a dock on the back and you’re greeted with a custom interface and full Firefox web browser that you can navigate with a trackpad and keyboard.
And with that, we’re one step closer to a future where your phone is your computer and it docks into any of a number of “dumb” terminals inside your home, office and car to provide an experience customized to the setting.
Everything’s moving in the right direction but I have some reservations about this Motorola Atrix combination in general. For starters, while the phone costs a fair $200 (with two-year contract), you’ll need to shell out an additional $400 for the laptop dock and then wait for a $100 rebate.
The total package price once the dust settles is $500 but it requires a two-year contract with AT&T’s $45-per-month “Data Pro smartphone plan and tethering add-on.” Add the minimum voice plan at $40 per month and you’re already up to $85 before adding text messaging or any additional services.
You can purchase the laptop dock separately, but it’ll cost a whopping $500.
Keep in mind that the dock itself requires the Atrix phone to function. That’s a lot of money for something that doesn’t actually do anything aside from providing a trackpad, keyboard, and a simple interface. And the thing still weighs almost two and a half pounds, so it’s not like it’s a razor-thin and super portable notebook from the future. I could have sworn I heard rumors that the laptop dock would cost $150—that would have been a steal—but even $200 or $250 sounds much more reasonable than $500.
It’s still a very cool, albeit expensive setup and perhaps the cost of that laptop dock will decrease over the coming months. The Atrix 4G will go on sale February 13th and begin shipping March 6th.
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