Motorola unveils tablet, ‘most powerful’ phone

By Wailin Wong
Posted Jan. 5 at 7:28 p.m.

The world’s most powerful smart phone.

Such a claim is a bold one, but Motorola Mobility is making it at the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual industry confab where companies try to one-up each other with the newest technology and flashiest product releases.

The “world’s most powerful smart phone” boast belongs to the Atrix, which was unveiled Wednesday in Las Vegas. Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Sanjay Jha pointed to the Atrix and accompanying laptop dock as the showpiece of the CES lineup.

The Atrix, which will be available in the first quarter at AT&T, runs on Google’s Android operating system and has an ultra-powerful processor and a fingerprint reader for security.
The phone nestles into a svelte laptop dock — just 13.9 millimeters thick — that has an 11.6-inch display, full keyboard and stereo speakers. This accessory gives a user full PC capabilities, including Web-based desktop applications, without the heft of an actual laptop. The Atrix phone acts as the engine that powers the entire setup.

“If you look at the smart phone market, 80 percent of the time, its capabilities are enough,” Jha told the Tribune in an interview on the sidelines of CES. “But there are times I want a bigger display and keyboard, but I don’t want to carry around a full laptop.”

The Atrix and laptop dock “truly liberates you” from the weight of a laptop and charger, Jha said. He added that he also sees the dock as an alternative to the tablet, since it allows consumers to access their content and use desktop-like applications on a mobile device.

“The convergence of computing and mobility now has a new form,” Jha said at Motorola Mobility’s press event. “It’s not just tablets — that’s an excellent form. This is another one.”

But Motorola Mobility isn’t staying out of the tablet game. The company introduced the Xoom, a device that runs Android 3.0, a version of the operating system tailored specifically for tablets. The Xoom announcement was the subject of Web chatter prior to CES because of a teaser video from Motorola Mobility that has garnered more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube since it was uploaded in late December.

“You should really think about our tablet as an extension of our smart phone,” Jha told the Tribune, noting that the devices are linked by their hardware and internal architecture.

The Xoom introduction came out just ahead of an announcement by T-Mobile and LG that they are launching a tablet called the G-Slate, which also runs Android 3.0. T-Mobile is expected to provide further details on the G-Slate on Thursday.

The Xoom tablet will be available in the first quarter at Verizon Wireless as a 3G device, with a 4G version coming in the second quarter. Jha noted that all of the earlier 3G tablets will be upgradeable to 4G. With the new version of Android, widgets and applications such as YouTube and Google Maps have been redesigned to suit the tablet’s larger size.

The hardware and software on the Xoom “deliver an experience that makes Android 3.0 and our tablet the most competitive product on the marketplace,” Jha said at the event.

Motorola Mobility also introduced two other Android phones at CES. The Cliq 2 is an update of the original Cliq, a T-Mobile device first introduced in October 2009. And the Droid Bionic is a 4G phone that is part of Verizon Wireless’ Droid lineup of premier Android devices. The Droid Bionic can record and play back high-definition video and has a front-facing camera for videoconferencing. It will be available in the second quarter.

Motorola Mobility’s CES event on Wednesday was an elaborate, standing room-only affair, marking a resurgence of interest in the company’s products after several lackluster years. On Tuesday, Schaumburg-based Motorola Inc. split into two independent, publicly traded companies.

Chief Financial Officer Marc Rothman told the Tribune that Motorola Mobility was “quite pleased with the reaction” it received from investors on the first day of trading, when the company’s stock closed 9.5 percent higher.

The shares were “up significantly in a down market,” Rothman said.

Jha’s portfolio comprises both mobile devices and connected home, which makes TV set-top boxes. Dan Moloney, president at Motorola Mobility and the executive overseeing the home business, told the Tribune that 2011 and 2012 should bring more ways to stream content within the home, with the vision being the ability to “move content seamlessly between the big and small screens.”

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  1. Mary Jan. 5 at 8:53 pm

    Small business phone plans for small business phone system, sound almost the same. It is really important that you have the right phone plan for your business size to have the right outcome; good communication and good business.

    Improving one’s communication for your business is always an advantage among your competitions.

  2. Tristan Thomas Jan. 5 at 9:30 pm

    Okay, while these Motorola products get me SUPER EXCITED, I simply cannot allow myself to buy them. I read this article that claims Motorola supports illegal activities and war crimes and I dont want to support a company that supports that kind of thing.

    You can check out the video here:

  3. Garry Jan. 5 at 11:24 pm

    What good is having the most powerful smartphone if it runs on the worst network?
    AT&T’s network is already overwhelmed by iPhone users.
    And while a number of them will abandon AT&T starting in April, when Verizon gets the iPhone for it’s more powerful network, I can’t see this helping Motorola Mobility very much.