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CES 2011. Motorola and original solutions from the future

Motorola Android flagship was named ATRIX 4G and labeled as the gadget to usher in a new era of mobile devices. I am not sure about the new era, but it certainly turns a new page. It is one of the first Android smartphones with Nvidia Tegra2 inside (a dual core processor of 1GHz for every core). Specifications are quite impressive and this gadget will be a benchmark for the first part of 2011. So meet 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of in-built memory coupled with microSD memory cards of up to 32 GB. For the first time an Android powered phone gets a qHD resolution (quarter HD or 960х540) screen. It boasts 4″ and offers a picture similar to that of Apple iPhone. The handset also has an HDMI jack to support 1080p video playback on external devices and all these features were shown during the press conference. I have to mention that the first shipments may lack this feature, but it will be added via a software update. It seems that the phone is a bit raw and several features are still a work in progress. The same applies to camera and video recording. First samples will boast 720p, which will go to 1080p after the first update. It is worth mentioning that the camera features only 5 MP and I would like to see photo samples. I don't expect anything special, but it would be excellent to have a matrix similar to ZN5.

The phone comes equipped with a 1930 mAh battery, which according to Motorola offers up to 9 hours of talktime and 240 hours on standby. I think that in real life we should expect one day of operation. Overall operation time is a very important element of the phone, which merits the utmost attention. It is quite interesting as it is a new platform and has a unique screen we have not seen before.

Surprisingly, but the smartphone has Bluetooth 2.1 on board, while featuring WiFi b/g/n. Why do we see an "old" Bluetooth version in the phone is still unclear. The dimensions of ATRIX 4G (117.75x63.5x10.95 mm, weight -135 g) are quite standard for this kind of device. As always Motorola uses Gorilla Glass and the build is rather impressive. For the US market the model will get an updated MOTOBLUR, which is a nice and feature rich shell (ATRIX will be sold in the USA as in Europe it will have another name and its introduction date will be much later). During the launch we will receive Android 2.2 to be upgraded to 2.3. We cannot expect more.

I was impressed by another feature as well. ATRIX 4G comes with two dock-stations. One of them is a standard HD multimedia dock with an HDMI and three USB ports. You can easily connect your phone to an external monitor and keypad for convenient use. The second accessory is very unusual. It is a shell of a laptop with a full sized keypad and screen without any internal components. It is called Motorola Laptop Dock, boasts an 11.6″ screen and a 36 Wh battery with 8 hours of operation. The weight is around one kilo.

The phone is inserted at the back to activate the screen. You have similar capabilities as those of the first dock-station, but the form is more whimsical. I got interested in this accessory, because it brings many new features. Unfortunately, we don't know anything about its price. Taking into account the price of components it cannot reach $200, while $100-150 will be ideal. At the same time $100 is too low for Motorola as the ordinary dock-station costs around $49.

Unusual things do not stop here. ATRIX 4G has two browsers. On the phone screen you see a traditional Webkit based offering for Android. Once connected to the external monitor or a laptop dock station the smartphone switches to a desktop variant (Mozilla 3.6.13). The method of switching between browsers is unique today, but may be used more extensively in future. This new development became possible due to hardware potential of the phone. I view this concept as viable, but today we lack memory of the appropriate size. When similar gadgets receive around 200 GB of in-built memory these accessories will become popular and standard laptops will lose their position. The very thought that the future is near makes me excited.

This model will only be available in the USA for AT&T. The price is not yet known, but I think it will match that of Motorola DROID when it was launched a year ago.

BIONIC or the same thing, but viewed from the side

DROID series was not forgotten. It is continuing in the form of BIONIC, which has an eloquent name. It will be available for Verizon Wireless and in Europe it will be called differently when launched in the middle of the 2nd quarter. Motorola made a wise move and offered two identical phones for rival carriers. You could have guessed that BIONIC is the same ATRIX with slightly changed characteristics. Instead of a 5 MP camera we have 8 MP, but the amount of RAM was slashed from 1 GB to 512 MB. On the other hand the platform remains the same and the handset has a dual core processor. I have not read anywhere that accessories for ATRIX may be suitable for BIONIC. This is unlikely to happen due to marketing consideration, which is sad.

The screen has the same resolution of 960х540 (qHD), but the size is 4.3″. Surprisingly, the weight of the gadget is 158 g. I don't know why it is heavier. The camera module is definitely not to blame. Pricewise this solution will be on par with ATRIX 4G for AT&T.

Motorola CLIQ2 for T-Mobile

None of US carriers was ignored and T-Mobile got CLIQ2. I think the device is a bit heavy (185 g), but we have to take into account that we get a side slider here. As the model will be accessible (around €250 in Europe), we cannot complain about anything. A year ago it would have been a true Android flagship. The processor has 1 GHz, 512 MB of RAM are coupled with 1 GB of in-built memory and a 3.7″ screen with the resolution of 854х480 accompanies a 5MP camera. It is a reliable mid market model, which boasts MOTOBLUR and offers traditional Motorola style.

Motorola XOOM or Android 3.0 tablet

Here comes the first Motorla tablet and one of the first tablets with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The screen boasts 10.1″ with the aspect ratio of 16:10 and the resolution of 1280х800. Inside we see the same dual core Tegra2 with 1 GHz. The tablet also features a 5 MP camera. The weight is 780 g. Video playback time is around 10 hours. The tablet will be initially launched for 3G, with the LTE support to follow later. The amount of in-built memory reaches 32 GB.

I liked the gadget. Android was implemented interestingly for tablets. XOOM will start selling in March. The price is not yet known, but should be not higher than $450. Journalists have not had a chance to play with the model yet and we have to be content with videos, which are quite clear though.

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 07 January 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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