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back to article Motorola Atrix dual-core Android smartphone

The Atrix is Motorola’s first dual-core handset and has big ambitions to be your one and only connected device. It’s available with a set of accessories that can turn it into both your laptop and media centre – a PC in your pocket. Motorola Atrix Unplugged: Motorola's Atrix Before we get to the accessories though, the basic …

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Gold badge

Limited imagination as usual

You would have thought the keyboard dock could have been designed so the phone slotted into the front and became the trackpad.

Firstly would have saved costs and secondly the display of the phone could have been utilised for feedback or other functions (think games).

The phone could have been held in place with magnets and it could have used a wireless protocol to talk to the keyboard. Charging could have been done with induction.

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Meh

Re: Limited imagination as usual

You're not wrong. I've been using this phone for a couple of weeks now and generally it's one of the slickest bits of kit I've ever used. The motoblur accounts app is the thing that really makes the phone worthwhile.

I heartily believe that the future of computing for the majority is a smart phone and dock of some variety along with cloud data & applications. However, they've just missed the mark by making the dock cost more than a capable netbook. I've also heard from the forums that the laptop dock requires a tethering enabled contract which for me is a final nail in the coffin for the idea working this time around.

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Trollface

RE: Limited imagination as usual

I await this feature in the next iMac.

Perhaps you should patent it now? :D

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Not really an option for Motorola

Trackpad perhaps but secondary screen isn't an option because even if they spent the money to extend Android to support it, they wouldn't get any significant support from 3rd party developers. Firms like Apple & RIM which have complete control of their platforms can make bold moves like that, but the Android OEMs are stuck offering whatever Google has given them with only a few bells and whistles around the edges.

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Alert

The laptop bit

I've read bad things about the performance & cost of this part. Perhaps the review could do with a bit more 'balance'?

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Thumb Up

And as usual, the minute I get a new phone....

...they come out with another one that I want.

The bit I think is ingenious is the fingerprint sensor. Why has no-one done this before?

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Er.... they have....

My Acer M900 had one and if IIRC my Tosh G900.

By the way, the Tosh G900 was waaaay ahead of its time, running around with a 480x800 screen before most could even count that high!

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Locked boot loader

Would have liked one of these but the locked boot loader and horrible moto blur or whatever they call that abomination of an interface skin is enough to put me off...

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Right ON!!

I couldnt agree more, i had the milestone (first one) and after months of broken promises (no flash for over a year) and locked bootloader i got a FULL refund as the item was not as described.

It was a shame as the handset was nice quality but sadly let down by the bloat ware and in ablity to cook your own roms.

This looks like it may sadly be present on this phone, nice concept sadly let down by motorola, they seem to think that android users are the same as ipod users, we buy android devices so we can play with them and set them up as we want NOT by the makers and or mobile networks.

I will be sticking with my desire hd and galaxy tab for the mean time,

MOVE WITH THE TIME MOTOROLLA, most ofther android manufactors are unlocking boot sig lock - follow suit otherwise the more savvy owners will avoid your products..

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Don't make me laugh

an update to 2.3 will be coming later this year???? Yeah, right. This is Motorola we're talking about. If you aren't happy with what is on the phone, don't buy it. Motorola never deliver updates.

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RE: Don't make me laugh

tru dat. i'm still on 2.1 with my Defy. we were promised an update to 2.2 about 6 months ago.

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@tamar1n47

I think you got the last laugh really - the Defy is the only smartphone worth buying because it's actually built to last a lifetime (OK eventual obsolescence aside), with the 1-metre-in-water-submergability and the gorilla glass, shock absorbing edges etc.

As far as I'm concerned the Atrix, along with any other smartphone, is unpurchasable on account of its/their lacking the Defy's qualities in that regard.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Unpurchasable?

In-water-submergability? Can't say it's a feature I look for in a phone...

You make many calls underwater?

Oh, the Atrix has gorilla glass too BTW.

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So does

The iPhone4, the Galaxy S, the Galaxy S II.............

Par for the course nowadays isn't it??

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Alert

Battery life?

No mention of real world battery life, regrettably still the Achilles heal of nearly all Android phones...still waiting for the killer phone to replace my ageing Hero - which still does everything I need it to, so not worth wasting money on replacing

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2 Things that make this phone a stand out.

The missus has had this for a while now, and this is what I'm impressed with:

1) Fingerprint reader - No one is going to be reading your texts/emails any time soon.

2) Dual core processor + 1Gb RAM - This makes *everything* so much quicker. Doing the same task on my Android phone feels a lot slower.

The docks are overpriced. Just buy a mini HDMI instead.

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Hope it works out the box ok

Because there is no chance of Motorola ever fixing it.

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Not the first time a phone as tried this trick

A very long time ago, back in the early days of Series 60, Sendo developed a full size foldout keyboard for their first (and sadly only) smartphone design. This is a really good idea by Motorola, although the cost is rather steep at the moment, with Lapdock and SIM free phone clocking in at £800. Granted, most people will get it on a contract of some sort but it will still be hellishly expensive.

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Linux

You may also want to mention...

You may also want to point out that WebTop comes with Citrix Receiver baked in, so accessing XenDesktop or XenApp deployed solutions is, in a word, awesome.

We're seriously considering a few of these for our sales team in the field.

There's also rumours of a WebTop NDK coming out - suddenly this becomes a whole lot more interesting (and useful)!

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FAIL

The first 100% review coming

I wait with anticipation on the Galaxy s2 Review. if moto Bluhhhh can get 85%

This is not exactly Bleeding edge technology.

I just got my better half the Galaxy S2 and believe me this is the dogs and has 1.2ghz dual core 2gb internal (16Gb) total internal and comes with android 2.3.

I was blown away at just how good this really is even compared to the Galaxy S (which ive been using for a year with 2.2 (since xmas)

But of course it'll only get 80% as its not apple. oh and the rear covers not tin that warps every time you remove

And yes did look at the atrix with a measley 1ghz dual core and only a 5MP camara. Hmm missed a trick here.

And why do i need a dock for my phone. Its not my laptop. so no use to me!!!!!!

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Galaxy S2? You mean this one?

http://www.reghardware.com/2011/05/18/review_samsung_galaxy_s_2_android_smartphone/

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Go

Post PC Era

I saw one of these complete with the Lapdock on TV a few weeks ago: Vampire Diaries (wifie was watching, not me!). Recognised it straight away from previous mentions on the Reg.

Nice bit of early product placement advertising of course, but it shows the demographic they're going after - very trendy.

Pity about the Lapdock price - 300 being way more than a 'cheap netbook' which are more like 200 due to recent discounting in order to compete with ipads. Then again, having everything on the same device my have its benefits

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Facepalm

Still too much compression on the pics

When will Smartphone makers allow us to set the amount of jpeg compression applied?

It's not like space is much of a problem these days.

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Stop

shame they are so expensive

1930mAh battery - it would have been worth having for this capability alone. Shame about the locked bootloader though.

No ta.

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Anonymous Coward

Can't work who Moto think the market for this is.....

The lapdock is £300 so it's not a casual purchase or one for anyone that's price sensitive. Most owners change their phone inside 2 years and I see no commitment from Motorola that this is an Apple dock type 'standard' yet that will work with all their phones (or even just an ongoing product line) so there's a high risk you have a £300 paperweight in 2 year's time*.

If you're NOT price sensitive then you'd just buy a Macbook Air - a fully functional computer that's actually *lighter* than the MotoDock and has a better battery life as well. Either way you need a tethering connection and your documents are presumably in the cloud anyway.

If you *are* price sensitive you'd buy either a netbook (£300 buys a decent enough Dell or Toshiba) or spend a bit £100 more and get an iPad. No bigger or heavier than the MotoDock

and give a decent battery life. Neither will be a worthless paperweight when you change your phone.

Moto can give the thing away, which might make you choose this phone over another, but surely that just cuts into their already slim margins in the Android phone market. Even if they did give me one for free how often am I actually going to choose to carry it over a proper laptop or fondleslab?

It's really no different to the old folding Targus keyboards for the Palm. Nice idea but rarely actually useful and redundant and worthless when the next gen Palm launched.

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you sir, are sooo right

Couldn't agree more.

IF you are going to pro-activley chose to carry a "Lapdog" then why wouldn't you chose to carry a similar price laptop instead??? ..... which carries all the other advantages or rather doesn't have the dis-advantages of the lapdog you mention above.

Just can't see a need for a lapdog i'm afraid.

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is confused

I have a droid and a droid 2. The droid is on 2.3 but the droid 2 is on 2.2.

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Megaphone

I forsee a certain practical problem here.

This is a very capable and impressive device, kudos to Moto for that. I take issue with the "replace your computer" line which appears to be very popular in the media at the present time. I have seen at least three articles along the lines of "will the smartphone kill the pc?" in major publications in the last week. Unless you are single there are certain practical problems - I shall mention one. I come home and plug my shiney into our home-theatre system to use it in "front room pc" mode. After a while my good lady settles down to surf a little from the comfort of her armchair. I then decide I want to spend an hour on the phone to my mates. She can then use hers I hear you cry, but hers is currently downloading this or that and cannot.......and so it goes. There will need to be at least one other form of computer in the house other than my and Madame AF's mobiles. Otherwise it becomes a question of how big a row with 'er indoors I want on a regular basis. I should also mention screen size - when I read an electronic book I want a six or seven inch form factor, not four poxy inches or so. Furthermore watching a film on a mob's screen is ridiculous. So please, when considering such questions, *do* take into account practical user issues - it isn't all about the spec sheet. The combination of ones mob and a, say, 7 inch tab/docking station connected to the telly at home is one that I can see being popular. However your phone as the *only* computer you have in the house? No, do not see it, for a whole shit load of practical reasons.

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Re: I forsee a certain practical problem here.

You're forgetting that a PC connected to the TV is mainly an IT geek thing. TVs already have browsers etc. built in, the dlna standard (or something better in the future) allows you to watch movies etc. without plugging in.

The TV has all the basics, the phone provides computing power, the line between what services the phone supplies and what services the TV/AV system provides is a likely to move but I can certainly see solutions to all but one problem (you get a phone call inviting you to the local half way through desperate housewives and decide to leave the missus to it. Begs the question though why you have it on your phone unless you secretly love that sh*t).

Ebooks are another matter - cellphones don't compete with a dedicated reader - primarily because of the screen tech & form factor.

I can't see me switching to the phone as the only PC - I currently have 5 in the house (2 people) not including the phones and am a geek. I can see 'normal users' making the transition though. As I said in my earlier message, it's the start of something - this is likely to be the way forward but it's not quite there yet. Right now, the laptop is too expensive, needs tethering and is awkward to use - give it a generation or two for the tech to standardise and it'll be a different story. Best reason for this phone is in business setting - motoblur makes everything a lot easier than my iPhone - only one place to check all my mail / messages etc. rather than 10 different apps.

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Happy

@daemonoid Re Re "Practical problems"

The example I gave was really only intended as *one* illustration of a situation where only one computer each, in the pocket so to speak, would lead to what we can politely call "user conflict" back at the old homestead. I take your point that that the IT setup at home for "ordinary" people is something they look at rather differently from "us". However, the basic principle that many will have another machine at home (regardless of which form-factor we might see in our crystal balls) other than just each person's smart-mob is IMO likely to be more widespread than merely being confined to those of us of the geekish persuasion.

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@Arctic Fox Re Re "Practical problems"

Yeah, I do see your point, I just think the PC at home will be less of what we call a PC today. More of an integration to the TV or part of the telecommunications package (think a BT home hub with better connectivity).

I think we're thinking along similar lines, I just see the demise of the traditional PC & desk in a lot of homes. The idea of a single computing device that allows you to have the convenience of a phone but the usability of a laptop / desktop when necessary really appeals to me. Family clouds could sort most of the data sharing problems, localised storage. My biggest worry about this vision of the future is the data - what happens if I lose my phone, 'the cloud' better hurry up and work properly :)

If they put their minds to it I could see apple really coming up with the goods here - airport for the storage / local backups & sharing, iPhone as the main powerhouse & a shell laptop (as mentioned before they could be positioned correctly to use the iPhone as a touchpad and for user feedback), then an apple TV / cinema display as the main livingroom display.

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FAIL

Practical??

This ATRIX sounds excellent. One question 2 you ALL: Do you use your cell phone for work? How does that work? Does your company give U a stipend? Do you let the call your cell number? Why does this "COMPLETE" phone not have dual line capability? Like the OLD Moto RAZR. That would make it "complete". Otherwise the highest score it should get is 60%.

IMHO.

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But it's got a qHD screen

And being 4" does it really make a difference?

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FAIL

Screwed it up...

1) Its Motorola

2) Locked down boot loader

3) Cripled Ubuntu

4) Proprietary dock

Try again, and do it right:

1) Full Ubuntu, on HDMI out, without special connector

2) Bluetooth keyboard and mouse

3) Unlocked bootloader, modder friendly

4) Updates

5) No proprietary connector, dock

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FAIL

Unfortunately they missed one feature...

...as did every other Android manufacturer... an antenna jack for those of us who sometimes roam places with poor coverage.

A small hand-held yagi or a ground-plane antenna up high, would boost coverage significantly, and thus I see as very worthwhile in a phone. ZTE make a few that feature an antenna jack, but they're non-Android.

How often am I in this situation? Often enough... and no I wouldn't call Lamington National Park (Binna Burra, O'Reilley's... near Springbrook) too far away from civilisation. Yet, its in exactly these places where one would want to be able to make an emergency call when someone breaks an ankle, and I've been in exactly this situation once before.

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