With two strong and hotly-anticipated Android devices, a challenger mind-frame and not-inconsiderable weight of expectation, Motorola has launched its next-gen attack.
Late last week in Sydney Motorola launched its long-awaited and keenly-anticipated Atrix smartphone and Xoom tablet in Australia, with both Android-based devices at first to be exclusive to the Telstra Next G network.
The Atrix, which runs Android 2.2 "Froyo" alongside Motorola's Motoblur interface, caused a stir at CES in January this year due to its unique ability to act as a dock-able desktop or notebook computer (in addition to offering a handsome smartphone feature set).
The Motorola Atrix: does anyone actually have friends who look like this?
The ace up the Atrix's sleeve comes about when the device is connected to one of two optional docks (sold separately): the Motorola HD Multimedia Dock and the Lapdock. The Multimedia Dock includes three USB ports and an HDMI port, allowing you to connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor to the device. Simply complete the picture with the Atrix and you've got a miniature but fully functional desktop PC, powered by the smartphone.
The other option is the Lapdock, which at first glance resembles an 11.6-inch netbook. Look a little closer however and you realise that the Lapdock is simply an inert laptop casing, which requires the Atrix's brainpower to be docked before any computing can be done.
The Atrix's HD Multimedia Dock turns your phone into a desktop PC (and it's smaller than a Mac mini).
Once the Atrix is connected to either dock, a "webtop" cloud-based operating system is automatically launched, which resembles a conventional (if streamlined) desktop OS. Via webtop you can browse the web with Firefox, run Flash, use a file manager, edit documents and do email. Alternatively, the Multimedia Dock (which includes a remote) can be connected to your TV and speakers for music and media playback.
As Andrew Volard, Director of Telstra Mobile Products, said at the launch, the Atrix is "the first smartphone to seriously blur the line between phone and computer."
The Atrix, docked into its optional Lapdock accessory.
Aside from the docking functionality, the Atrix has an impressive smartphone spec to boot: a dual-core CPU with each processor running at 1GHz; 1GB RAM; Flash support; 16GB onboard storage (upgradeable to 48GB via microSD); the world's first qHD (Quarter HD) 960 x 540 display, with Gorilla Glass; a 5MP auto-focus camera with LED flash; and a 720p-capable HD camcorder (with 1080p-capable HDMI playback coming soon via a software upgrade).
The Atrix will be available from 7 June, exclusive to Telstra until the end of July. It can be purchased for $840 outright and is also available on plans. The Lapdock retails for $449 (which seems a little pricey to us), and the Multimedia Dock costs $129.
Motorola's Xoom tablet.
Also unveiled at the launch was Motorola's new Xoom tablet, which was released in the States in February this year amid much fanfare, being the first Android 3.0 tablet on the market. Available on 24 May from Telstra (and also for $840 outright, or on plans), the Xoom sports a 10.1-inch with 1,280 x 800 resolution, an Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor and strong battery life, with a claimed 10 hours of video playback on offer.