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Help Motorola's Atrix Android phone leads secret double life as a netbook
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Motorola unveiled its new Android-based Atrix 4G smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas. The device has extremely impressive hardware specifications and a strong feature set, but its most compelling characteristic is the ability to provide a desktop-like computing experience when it is docked in a unique netbook shell.

The Atrix 4G handset uses NVIDIA's dual-core Tegra 2 chipset, has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5MP rear camera with LED flash, a front-facing VGA camera, a fingerprint reader for secure unlocking, and a 4-inch display with a resolution of 960x540—a nice boost over the usual WVGA resolution that is common in high-end smartphones. It's a GSM handset that will be launching in Q1 with AT&T.

Unfortunately, the Atrix will ship with Android 2.2 instead of the latest version. And it's not yet clear when it will be getting an upgrade to Gingerbread. Another minor disappointment is that the "4G" in the device's moniker means HSPA+ rather than LTE.

The 2.4 pound netbook shell has an 11.6-inch screen and a three-cell battery. It has no internal storage at all, because it boots its Linux-based "webtop" operating system entirely from the Atrix smartphone. The netbook shell has a docking area in the rear with an HDMI plug and a micro-USB plug that slide into the ports on the phone when it is placed in the dock. The phone can charge itself from the netbook shell's battery.

In addition to the netbook shell, Motorola has also developed a multimedia dock with USB ports and an HDMI output. The user can plug a television into the dock for media viewing, or plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to use with the webtop computing environment.

The general idea is to put the phone at the center of the user's computing experience. Users keep their applications and data on a single device and simply plug it into the netbook shell or media dock if they want a more desktop-like computing experience. Because the phone itself is the storage medium for the platform, the webtop environment's application state (such as browser bookmarks and open tabs) will be carried over wherever the user plugs in the phone.



We tested the Atrix and its netbook dock at Motorola's pavilion on the CES show floor. Although Motorola isn't the first to develop a netbook companion device for smartphones, we think the company is possibly the first to get the formula right. It has the potential to succeed where previous contenders—such as Palm's ill-fated Folio and Celio's RedFly—have fallen short.

Although the Atrix's webtop environment is booting from the Android phone, it appears to be a custom desktop Linux distribution. A close inspection of the included applications revealed that the webtop platform incorporates a number of components from the GNOME desktop environment, including GNOME's Nautilus file manager. It also runs the full desktop version of Firefox 3.6. It has a dock-like panel at the bottom of the screen with launchers and shortcuts to websites.

The Android environment on the user's phone is fully accessible through a window in webtop mode. This means that you can use Android applications from your phone on the netbook alongside the conventional desktop applications that come with the webtop platform. It's unclear what level of third-party extensibility the webtop environment offers, but it can obviously run some Gtk+ applications.

When I discussed the webtop environment with a Motorola developer and asked about command line access, he said that they omitted a terminal program because the product is intended for general consumers rather than enthusiasts. We will have to wait until it is launched in order to discover whether it is open to modding, though it seems unlikely given the history of lockdown on AT&T and Motorola Android phones.

Tegra 2 and performance
During my hands-on tests, I was extremely impressed with the phone's stellar performance. The dual-core Tegra 2 is also entirely capable of driving the browser-centric webtop environment, which felt reasonably responsive during our time with the device. The netbook shell had a really solid feel, though I wasn't particularly impressed with the keyboard. It's a full-sized keyboard, but the individual keys felt a bit small, had an odd rounded shape, and a slight indentation in the center. It wasn't really as good as some of the chiclet-style keyboards that I've tested on regular netbooks.

Motorola says that the netbook shell gets about 7 or 8 hours of operating time on a full charge, depending on what the user is doing. One big question that is still unanswered is what kind of pricing model we can expect for the system. Due to the fact that the netbook shell can run a complete desktop browser, it's possible that AT&T might want to jack up the service price for the Atrix to align it with their tethering plans.

Motorola says that the Atrix and its docking system represents the company's vision of the future of computing. The notion of carrying around your entire computing experience in your pocket and simply plugging it into other form factors is extremely intriguing, but I think it will need a third-party application ecosystem on the desktop side in order to truly replace the current approach to computing for any but the most basic use cases.

Regardless of whether the netbook shell and dock accessories really take off, the Atrix handset itself is a high-powered marvel and solid entrant in the next-generation Android handset arena.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011...ix-android-
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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Motorola Atrix to launch on Feb 22

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Bangalore: There is a little change in the launching date of Motorola Atrix 4G phone. Previously they said that they will be taking pre-orders for the phone from February 16 which was supposed to be released on March 6. But now the Motorola Atrix will actually release on February 22 that is confirmed by American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T).

AT&T has also confirmed that it will start taking pre-orders from 13th of this month and the shipping will start from February 21. This will be the first dual core smartphone of U.S. It has a new feature available, the docking ability, which we will not get in any other smartphone. With the docking ability the device can be attached to a proprietar laptop dock, or to a television or computer monitor via a desktop dock, effectively transforming itself into a laptop or desktop PC.

The device will be available for $199, in U.S., with a two year contract from AT&T. The laptop dock will come at $500 or $300 with a $20 monthly, two year supplement. The desktop dock costs $190 and includes the dock, a mouse, keyboard, and remote control. It can be connected to any monitor or TV with an HDMI input as a display.

The Atrix runs Android 2.2 on a dual-core 1 GHz processor. It has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It connects to AT&T's HSPA+ "4G" network.

Siliconindia News
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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