Friday, February 25, 2011

Moto Atrix 4G/Web Top Unboxing

So besides releasing the best Android Tablet on the market, Moto, took a stab at inventing a new category of mobile/portable computing. Allow me to introduce (or to most of you re-intro) the Moto Atrix 4G. I got the chance to use it for a couple of days, so ive put together another review for you guys:

What is it ?
1. kick ass 4G android smartphone from AT&T. The marketing claims its "The smartest smart phone on the planet"
2. "Webtop" Dock, which looks exactly like a thin profile laptop, to which you dock your Atrix 4G phone.

The device looks and feels well built in your hand. The back plate, seems to imitate a carbon fiber weave design on the back, but its very subtle. The power button is on the back side of the phone, and functions as a locking clasp for the casing. After living with iOS devices since 2007, its refreshing to see an iPhone 4 equivalent form factor execute a swappable battery design that functions well, gives you the ability to have a back up battery, and at the same time accepts no compromises on how the device feels in your hand.

The software on the phone seems to be pretty regular Android. The downside is that the apps tray is preloaded with tons of bloatware such as the Block Buster Video app, and other apps that i have no intention of using.

The novel part of the phone is the way it syncs with the "webtop" dock.

At first look you are wowed by the idea of a netbook like device being designed from the ground up to Sync with your beloved android device. But once you try to actually do something on it, you realize you are running the most crippled laptop OS in the world. The only chance i see for the Webtop surviving is if they do an update and make the device run on ChromeOS. I mean it ships with FireFox onboard? and the UI uses a windows paradigm, which results in the biggest clutter ever. Its unclear where you can install apps from, because the webtop zone failed to work for me. It did have some silver lining, in that having a direct 1:1 view of your phone on a traditional laptop screen/keyboard was kind of cool. Any of you devs out there that have used the Xcode simulator or even better an android simulator on your laptop will know what it feels like. Besides that there is a nice way to sort all of the windows you have open on your webtop into a "card" like view where you can deal with them one at a time and you can flow through the open windows to the left or the right.

The Modern Mobility Verdict:
  • The Atrix SmartPhone is a really good device. It has Ludicrous power, enough apparently to attempt to power what we consider a "laptop" experience.
  • The Webtop, software experience is wierd and clunky. The hardware is simple, sleek and functional. No complaints on the hardware. Drastically needs to upgrade to full on Chrome OS and really present a unified "google experience" front to the user here.

Product Pics below: