At this years CES the winner in our book was the Motorola Atrix (which still ranks high) because we weren’t expecting it. Everyone knew the Xoom was coming and we had heard time and time again about the “Terminator” twin Motorola devices first reported by Androidandme.com however when the Etna and Olympus were released as the Bionic and the Atrix they were two totally different devices and the Atrix seemed to be the clear winner by a lot!
The most unique feature about the Motorola Atrix is the speed of the device coupled with accessories to use the Atrix as a full on computer. There is a docking set to use it as a desk top with TV, and another, the Lapdock, that allows you to dock it to a Laptop style keyboard and screen with it’s own separate battery that charges the display and phone when docked.
When the pricing for the Atrix Lapdock was originally announced at $499 off contract and $350 when bundled with the Atrix phone on a 2 year contract. That’s one expensive keyboard and display even if it does fold up and charge both the phone and display.
Now before we get into the meat and potatoes of the headline we want to make sure you clearly understand that aside from the Atrix phone being docked in the Lapdock, the Lapdock will do nothing except allow you to see the battery level. It is literally a very nifty portable screen and keyboard.
We got this story from a tip from DandroidOS on twitter. DandroidOS has been tweeting about Android since June of 2009 and is a respected member of the Android community. He approached us wanting to inform the Android community, not to attack AT&T. Here’s what he and now we’ve confirmed.
DandroidOS purchased a 2gb data plan for his Motorola Atrix. He had no intention of tethering the device to any computer or letting friends use his Atrix data via wifi. It was his personal phone. He purchased the Lapdock webtop device bundled with his phone to use as his personal computer on the go. When he docked his phone to the Lapdock device he got a message that he needed a premium data plan to use it online.
DandroidOS was needless to say upset, he didn’t think it was tethering to use the Atrix with the Lapdock webtop device. Afterall it’s an accessory. There is no fee if you want to use a bluetooth keyboard and a line of code from XDA to use your TV as the monitor. DandroidOS questioned (as do we) how we are tethering to just a keyboard and display?
In a phone interview with Dandroid OS he said he would consider paying a one time fee however the onetime fee is built into the $350 dollars he paid for the keyboard and display.
We went to our local AT&T store and talked with their manager whom we often consult with and they said that Dandroid OS should not have been allowed to leave his AT&T store without a premium data package. It was obviously not explained correctly to Dan.
However even though it wasn’t explained right lets examine the numbers. The Lapdock is $500 off contract so you own it outright. If you bundle it at the time of purchase they knock $150 off at the store and $200 when you buy it online. Either way (as the graphic above shows) you need to pay $45 a month to use the webtop dock which comes out to $1080 for a two year contact. This is even if you are using it personally.
In retrospect an HP Mini netbook extended 2 year price for the 5gb data plan is only $1489 and there you have a full functioning machine separate from the phone.
$1450 is a lot to pay for a keyboard and a display. And that’s just the Lapdock…
UPDATE: A twitter follower pointed out that to get the Atrix at all you would need a minimum data plan so lets just say you got the $25 data plan it’s a lot lower than $1450 it’s an extra $450 on top of the $350 or $500 you paid for the lapdock and again the lapdock is only a keyboard and display, the firefox browser and lapdock OS are stored in the phone itself. The phone is bad ass it’s dual core, tegra 2 and fast. The lapdock is ridonculously over priced.