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 Motorola rep also informed us of plans for regular charging and car docks, so it looks like wherever you may be, the Atrix will have a bespoke resting place.
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. A 50% increase in sub-pixel count promises better readability in sunlight (a common complaint of Super AMOLED screens) and better contrast.
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. Also worth noting is that this device will launch with the latest Sense UI, the same as we've seen on the Desire HD and Desire Z abroad, which will allow access to HTCSense.com as well as extra features such as offline maps and fastboot.
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.
The Android Developers blog has stated the carrier billing option will roll out to phones as part of the larger Market update that has been floating around in ZIP form for a couple of weeks - but it remains entirely unclear what phones or versions of Android will be eligible.
AT&T will be purchasing wireless spectrum from Qualcomm, the computer chip manufacturer, for $1.93 billion to provide higher speeds for its 4G network. The spectrum is in the lower 700 MHz frequency band and covers 300 million people in the United States.
The AT&T mobile network has been criticized heavily for some time because of connectivity issues which have caused poor service for its iPhone users. The iPhone uses more data than any feature phone and most smartphones (but not Android phones), so having exclusivity over the phone has put a severe strain on AT&T's network. Customers in heavily populated areas, such as New York City, are known to experience dropped calls and generally slow Internet browsing speeds.
If you thought the news that Samsung shifted more than a million Galaxy Tabs was impressive, just wait 'til you hear this one: the company today announced that over three million of its Galaxy S smartphones have been sold in the US alone. This not only means that Sammy now owns 32.1% of the Android market in the US; it also makes Samsung the #1 supplier of Android devices in the US. Unfortunately, it's clear that the rollout of Froyo hasn't been able to keep up with the devices' sales.
While we originally heard that AT&T would start selling the dual-core Motorola Olympus by the end of January, it now appears that the phone may be available earlier - according to a Facebook message which has since been deleted (see below), the handset may go on sale as early as December. Unfortunately, AT&T, who posted the message, later stated that "we don't have any information to share about upcoming devices" and that the message was posted "erroneously," so not much else came out of the leak. Still, here's what we do know: we're looking at a Tegra 2 handset that will most likely feature a front facing camera, a relatively slim profile, and a display in the 4-inch range.
The Galaxy S phones are, without a doubt, among the best Android phones out there, but for some time now, the handsets have been plagued by one potential showstopper - malfunctioning GPS capabilities. Worry not, though - in addition to an update that rolled out a few months ago, Samsung has developed an app called GPSSamsungRestore which is now available from the Android Market for all users of AT&T's Captivate and T-Mobile's Vibrant. So what does it do? It undoes any modifications to the GPS and basically reverts it to its original state. While it remains to be seen how reverting the GPS to its original, broken state fixes it, I suppose it can't hurt to give it a shot if you're a Captivate or Vibrant owner.