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The Phone That's A Laptop: The Motorola Atrix

That looks like an ordinary smartphone at first glance, doesn't it? Sure, it's probably got a few nifty features, but it's nothing really unique, is it? Guess again. The Motorola Atrix is actually a phone, laptop, and media server all bunched into one pocket-sized package.

And it's got some pretty nifty features. 

Communicate and Compute

The Motorola Atrix 4G is the first device of its kind. It's beyond a smartphone; it's a smartphone that can act as a multimedia computer and netbook. Basically, it can do everything a regular smartphone can do and much, much more. It's got all the usual goodies you'd expect from a 4G phone- a five megapixel camera, web functionality, et-cetera. All that stuff, it's standard fare for a phone.

What's awesome about the Atrix is...well....it can turn into a computer. More specifically, an 11.6 inch laptop.  Motorola's developed a very unique peripheral device to go with the Atrix. It's basically a laptop...sans the working parts. All you really have to do is plug your phone into a slot in the back of it, and boom....you've got yourself a netbook. What's even cooler is that the laptop dock also functions as a phone charger- giving up to eight hours of additional battery life. (Engadget)

This nifty device, while innovative, might not exactly sell that well. Neither Engadget nor Cnet found it particularly alluring, and the fact that it doesn't support chrome and has a price point that's a touch too high to compete with other netbooks on the market (around $500 as a standalone product) is definitely a point against it.

(Image from Engadget)(Image from Engadget)That's not all the Motorola Atrix can do. Via a multimedia dock with 3 USB ports, it can be hooked up to a keyboard and mouse to function as a standalone desktop computer. It's also got an HDMI port, so it can be plugged into a monitor and used as a multimedia device. Oh, there's also a usb mouse and keyboard that can be plugged in.

Again, a very nifty innovation, but one has to wonder if the HDMI dock, or even the mouse and keyboard are strictly necessary- the HDMI port is actually built in to the phone itself, so why not just eliminate the middleman and plug the phone directly into the set? It works about as well either way. 

The Specs

So after hearing all the nifty things this phone can do, I'll bet you're all clamouring to hear what's under the case, right? Though it's not particularly mighty by laptop standards, I think it's safe to say that the Atrix 4G is probably one of the most powerful smartphones ever released. Couple that with an amazing, well-designed and intuitive user interface, and all the other goodies I've mentioned are just additional bonuses. 

The phone is build on NVidia's  Tegra 2 microarchitecture, and has the following specifications(from Engadget and Anand): 

  • 16 Gigabytes NAND Memory,32 GB MicroSD optional
  • 1 Gigabyte of DDR2 RAM
  • A Dual Core 1 GHz processor
  • A Light and Proximity Sensor
  • Built in Compass
  • Built in Accelerometer
  • A 960x580 HD Display

....Yeah. As phones go, this is a beautiful device, and definitely a beast as far as smartphones go. Given the size, that's pretty impressive, no? 

Final Word 

As a phone, the Motorola Atrix 4G is a well-designed, durable, stunningly powerful device. Boasting an excellent camera, intuitive user interface, and a plethora of neat features- did I mention power? If you're looking to purchase yourself a new smartphone, you could do a lot worse than this pretty little thing. 

As a computer, however, it falls a bit short, given the price point it's set at. Just the same, what Motorola's done here is try out an aweseome new innovation. I really hope they expand upon this in the future- it's an excellent starting point for a few new, exciting pieces of technology, don't you think? Who knows? One day we might see smartphone computers that manage to put today's desktops to shame.