15 glorious minutes with the Motorola Atrix!

Don’t let the title of the article fool you, i’m not a fan. I will not be buying this device. That’s ok though, it wasn’t marketed at me. It probably wasn’t marketed at you either. You probably saw the words Dual Core and got all excited like the first time… we’re getting off track, my fault. The Motorola Atrix is one of three new devices AT&T will be adding to what is shaping up to be quite the arsenal of 4G Android powered phones this year. During the AT&T Developers Summit at CES, I was able to get some face with Moto’s Dual Core monstrosity, and walked away with an assurance that this was not meant t be a consumer device.

As is my custom, i’ll start with the good. The Atrix is not only blazing fast, but remarkably smooth in everything it does. This issignificant, given a recent look Moto’s Droid Bionic, which was a spectacular lagfest of lagtactular proportions. The Atrix does not have this problem, at all. It handled browsing every website with a natural feel and ease, exactly what you would expect from a device with so much power inside. Mounting to their HDMI dock made it easy to play 1080p video with ease, and never once did it heat up (  I was the fifth person in a row to perform similar batteries of tests, which is why this is significant.) Combine that with the ability to connect bluetooth mouse and keyboard to the phone out of the box, and you have a phone that is in every way also a computer. If you are willing to compromise on software, this is an impressive bundle of hardware.

Now, unfortunately, the bad. It’s running Blur. Now when I say that, I don’t mean the “Oh lets put ADW on it, not that big a deal” kind of Blur. This is, sadly, fragmentation at it’s worst. When you dock the phone to your shiny new “webtop”, a netbook shaped shell geared towards enabling you to get a proper computer sort of feel, or connect it to any other HDMI capable screen, the webtop software engages. Your screen goes dark, and your screen or webtop comes alive as though it was it’s own small OS come to life. It looks nothing like Android. Unfortunately, it also works nothing like Android. This appears to be completely proprietary, and no one from Moto was willing to comment, though it wont be long before the source tells all. Next up, the radio. Due to AT&T’s abysmal LTE upgrade plan, this phone, and the others announced to AT&T today, are HSPA+ devices, not LTE capable.

It’s a train wreck, in my opinion, but it’s not our train wreck. Remember, I said this probably wasn’t marketed at you. Sanjay Jha of Motorola was calculated in the way he presented this device. He used phrases like “enough battery for a transatlantic flight” and “the business ready Firefox 3.6.1”. This phone is the phone of choice for the jet setter, the road warrior, or the real estate agent. There is no reason a consumer shouldn’t get the phone, aside from the fact that in six months all of your friends will have “that other 4G” it’s good for any users to enjoy.


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  1. why is webtop a bad thing and how does it equal additional fragmentation?
    the one thing I would really like to know is if the hdmi out can do standard mirror mode as well as the webtop device windowed mirror mode (because the latter seems laggy at this point)

  2. as i said via twitter to @thedroidguy this could be an amazing breakthrough in the way we view business devices for field sales folks. The device gives you a legitimate ability to replace a laptop for a mobile workforce, and given the way that companies are starting to virtualize client computers, i can see this really fitting into the current business client and current business trends. If they can make that citrix session do offline client work, then this is the type of device that has the chance literally change the way professionals work.

    I understand the point of the article, what’s good for business isn’t always great for the consumer, but this device has a lot of merit and can usher in an era where the smartphone displaces the laptop for the road warrior. For that reason alone it should be applauded. Moto innovated in an area that has been traditionally ruled by old school windows mobile or RIM. They didn’t spend time trying to copy Apple’s interface or do some strange derivative of the standard black slab. They just showed the kind of innovation that honestly Android has been lacking recently.

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