You could say Motorola's earnings call ended on a high note - the company's CEO, Sanjay Jha, told analysts that the Atrix 4G will be launching at the end of February, as will the 3G version of the XOOM. That doesn't quite line up with the rumors we've been hearing about a February 17th release, and Jha later added that the XOOM might even be bumped to a release in March if things don't go according to plan.
Despite the massive hype in the Android community surrounding Motorola's super-charged Atrix 4G, there has been little word on the device's pricing or release date. Fortunately, an internal Best Buy meeting has confirmed some important information. There are some conflicting reports on the phone's release: some say it will be arriving at stores on February 13, while others claim that it will be released on that day. Either way, the device will launch at Best Buy stores before any others, though it's unknown how long that exclusivity will last.
Android Central has managed to get their hands on an internal AT&T database entry for the upcoming Motorola Atrix 4G - and it looks to be coming sooner rather than later. The image, shown below, indicates a possible launch date of March 1, which is quite a lot sooner than I think many people were expecting.
This is good news for AT&T customers (like myself), as the nation's number two carrier has until recent announcements at CES been the least Android-friendly provider in the US in terms of handset selection.
The big question on everyone's mind (well, at least ours) today is: How will the iPhone coming to Verizon next month change the smartphone landscape? At this point, it's anyone's guess, but Android's unabashed domination on the US's largest wireless carrier will certainly be challenged in the coming months. However, there are significant forces at work that won't exactly help the iPhone with its Verizon debut - namely, Verizon and Android.
At Motorola's booth today, we got a chance to play with the Atrix 4G - a dual-core HSPA+ equipped slate handset, sporting a whopping 1GB of RAM and packing a couple of notable features. Along with the laptop dock demoed in the video below, the Atrix 4G also has a media dock (called "HD dock") which allows you to connect it to a larger screen (and use the same WebTop desktop-like interface) as well as plug in a keyboard and a mouse.
The Atrix 4G may not be the only dual-core powered Android phone announced this year at CES, but it certainly seems to be the only one that claims to 'redefine the line between a phone and a laptop'. It's able to blur said line by featuring the relatively unique 'Laptop Dock' accessory, which, for all intents and purposes, will convert your Android phone into a netbook running Motorola's 'Webtop' application.
Details on the actual Webtop interface are sparse, but Motorola did spill the beans on the internals powering the Atrix 4G:
- Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1 GHz processor
- 1 GB RAM and 16 GB internal memory
- HSPA+ 4G compatibility with AT&T
- 4 inch qHD display
- 5 MP rear camera with LED flash
- VGA front-facing camera
- Fingerprint scanning security (located on the back of the device)
- Android 2.2 (Froyo) with MotoBlur (which looks to be refined, I might add)
- Wi-Fi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
- 1930 mAh battery for 9 hours talk time
Note the incredibly beefy battery - 1930 mAh is probably the largest mobile phone battery we've ever heard of.
AT&T has been keeping very quiet about its 4G plans over the past year, letting the other 3 major players freely roll out their respective 4G technologies - HSPA+ for T-Mobile, WiMax for Sprint, and LTE for Verizon. However, after the announcements at this morning's AT&T Developer Summit, it is clear AT&T is seriously stepping up its game.
According to Ralph de La Vega, AT&T's CEO, AT&T has already completed the upgrade of the whole mobile broadband network to HSPA+, or Evolved HSPA, which is the same technology used by T-Mobile that currently offers theoretical speeds of about 21Mbps downstream.
It appears that Samsung is going to continue with the Galaxy S brand name, but this upcoming AT&T handset is unlike any other Galaxy S phone you've seen before. The Samsung Infuse 4G improves on the original in just about every way - in fact, it easily tops any phones on the market today:
- 1.2 GHz (single core) processor
- 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display
- 8 megapixel rear camera
- 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
- HSPA+ support
- TouchWiz UI
- Extremely thin (thinnest phone on AT&T when it launches)
The most interesting aspect is the Super AMOLED Plus display.
Eyeing the HTC Thunderbolt or EVO 4G with envy but stuck on AT&T? Fortunately, the carrier, which has a long reputation of not embracing Android (none of their Android phones can officially sideload apps) has just announced its next "superphone." The HTC Inspire 4G looks to be just about the same as the Thunderbolt, with a 4.3" screen and 4G connectivity, although it will support AT&T's HSPA+ network instead of their upcoming LTE network.
That's right, carrier billing is now available for some Android users on the least Android-friendly wireless carrier in the US. Huzzah. I guess I shouldn't be so cynical - I am an AT&T customer, after all. Unfortunately, I also run CyanogenMod 6 on my AT&T Nexus One, and have not yet received any Market update to allow me to use carrier billing, and doubt I will until an official Gingerbread build coaxes me off my custom ROM goodness.