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Motorola ATRIX – a day with the new face of mobile computing

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 7, 2011

6 min read

When I first saw the Motorola ATRIX at the Consumer Electronics Show this year in Las Vegas, I called it out as the product of the show. (A bold statement if you consider there are hundreds of thousands of products on display!) This week, the ATRIX is being launched on the Telstra Next G Network, and I jumped at the opportunity to take the ATRIX for a test drive. This blog is being written on the ATRIX’s Laptop Dock accessory, using the QuickOffice application supplied as standard on the Motorola ATRIX.

There are many sides to the Motorola ATRIX. Come with me on a journey — a day in the life of the Motorola ATRIX.

5:30am

The soothing sounds of my favourite music gently wake me up. Having set the ATRIX in the Standard dock, the phone becomes my alarm clock and provides a decent digital clock readout.

6:00am

Check mail, Facebook, the weather and schedule.

The powerful dual core processor allows me to stay in touch with my Facebook friends around the world, update my status, and read the overnight mail. A tap on the weather icon gives me the daily forecast – it’s going to be sunny today, but only 13 degrees outside. Umbrella back in the closet, scarf coming with me!

7:00am

Breakfast and news catch-up.

The ATRIX can do many things, but making breakfast is not one of them! I can, however, read the daily newspaper on the ATRIX whilst having my breakfast. Reading on the ATRIX’s qHD  display is very clear and a good experience, but still limited to 4 inches of screen. No matter, the Lapdock is a simple answer.

What is the Lapdock?

Motorola ATRIX - DockThe Lapdock transforms your Motorola Atrix into a laptop/netbook. With its 11.6″ WXGA screen, the Lapdock has two USB ports, an integrated battery that also charges the ATRIX, a QWERTY keyboard and a touch pad. Although the keyboard is smaller than on a regular laptop is not too hard to get used too.

To activate the Laptop dock, simply place the ATRIX into the back of the Laptop dock, lift up the screen and you’re ready to go.  The webtop application built into the ATRIX gives you access to a full version of Firefox browser, and the ability to manage your files, mail, photos and web applications from the Lapdock’s screen. Additional files can be accessed through the external USB ports.

8:00am

Navigation

Motorola ATRIX - NavigationVehicle dock. Attach it to your windscreen or dashboard, and your ATRIX becomes a portable GPS system. With a choice of either Whereis Navigator or the Motorola Navigation applications, the turn by turn navigation will guide you to your destination. Once you arrive, simply unclip your ATRIX and you are back into phone mode.

9:30am

At the Office

Using the HD Multimedia Dock, the ATRIX can now be viewed on either a TV or monitor, giving you a larger screen to see all of your emails, files and websites. Add an optional wireless keyboard for greater access. Remember to check that you are connected to Wi-Fi or have an appropriate data plan. Alternatively, the ATRIX can be connected to a TV or monitor using the HD-USB cable supplied with the ATRIX.

2:30pm

Meeting

Running to a meeting, the ATRIX and laptop dock is the perfect combination to take notes, review material or view a presentation.

7:30pm

Home, diner, relaxing

Work’s over — now it’s time to take it easy. Drop the ATRIX into the HD Multimedia Dock, pick up the remote control, and select a track from my recorded music. After diner, scroll through my video collection and settle down to a movie and coffee.

11:30pm

Bed time

The ATRIX is once again in the Standard Dock in my bedroom, ready to wake me tomorrow at 5:30am.

What I have described above is real – and all based around one mobile phone and some very clever accessories. Motorola haven’t forgotten that the ATRIX is first and foremost a phone. No matter what dock you may have connected at the time, if your phone rings, you can answer it and talk – either via a Bluetooth headset or simply by picking up your phone from the dock and answering the call. When you are finished – replace the handset and resume your previous activity.

This week I have moved my work email over to the Motorola ATRIX and will be using the ATRIX and Laptop dock at all my meetings.

A lot of people have raised questions whether the Lapdock with the Motorola ATRIX is a competitive offering to purchasing a netbook. From what I have experienced so far, this is a much better combination for several reasons:

1. Screen size

The Laptop dock has an 11.6″ screen versus the average 10″ on a netbook.

2. Weight

The Laptop dock and ATRIX combination weighs under 1.25 kilos – less than many standard netbooks.

3. No setup required

The Lapdock is a “dumb terminal” – i.e. without the ATRIX attached it doesn`t do anything. The advantages here is that there are no setup costs or time, no license fees for software, no security risk if you lose it – nothing is stored on the dock.

4. It charges my phone whilst I am using it. The Lapdock can provide up to 10 hours of use in a single charge.

I found the touch pad a little too sensitive – and instead used a Bluetooth mouse. If the Lapdock had a web camera I think it would really be up there as a netbook replacement!

Just a few words about the ATRIX as a phone.  This is my first deep dive into an Android phone. Having used a couple of Android phones over the past year, I didn’t truly appreciate the flexibility of the operating system. Motorola have combined this flexibility with the power of a dual core processor, a great security feature (finger print scanning that actually works), and a creative array of docking stations that makes the ATRIX part of your daily life.

The  Motorola ATRIX is indeed one of the most impressive devices I have used in over 15 years in this industry.

The following smart accessories will be available from Telstra Stores in early June:

  • Lapdock – $449 RRP
  • HD Multimedia Dock and BT Remote – $129 RRP
  • Active Car Dock with Car Charger – $79 RRP

The Motorola ATRIX is available from Telstra Stores around Australia from today.

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