Tag Archives | Motorola Atrix

Motorola Xoom Sales “Slow,” “Disappointing,” Say Analysts

Motorola’s Xoom tablet doesn’t lack for hype. Actual sales, however, may be another matter. At least two analysts have come out in the past two days and cited “poor” Xoom sales in adjusting their forecasts for Motorola revenue in the current quarter.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue was the first on Friday, and said higher competition would put a strain on the company. He cut his Xoom shipments forecast by 25% to 300,000 units in the current quarter and called sales “slow.” This was followed by Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette who called Xoom sales (and of Motorola’s Atrix 4G smartphone) “disappointing.”

What’s the issue here? I’m going to take an educated guess and say its pricing pressures. In the case of the Xoom, it is still priced well above the market-leading iPad. For such a premium, Motorola needs to prove its worth to the consumer and I don’t think it has done that.

As Faucette notes, the Atrix’s issues may actually result from other smartphones on AT&T being priced well below the device, such as the $49 iPhone 3GS. The Atrix on the other hand retails for $199.99. While it’s the same price as the iPhone 4, if people are looking for a cheaper solution on the carrier with a decent feature set, it’s certainly there.

If anything’s obvious from this, it’s that price is king. Will this lead Motorola to reconsider its strategy? I guess we’ll find out.


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Is Motorola Building a Web-Based OS? It Already Did.

From the original Droid to the brand-new Atrix, Motorola’s been all about Android over the last year and a half. But if Thomas Claburn’s anonymous source is correct, that may eventually change.

In a report for InformationWeek, Claburn writes that Motorola is building its own web-based operating system as a way to curb its reliance on Google’s Android. Motorola has reportedly hired mobile and web engineers away from Apple and Adobe, but its not clear whether this rumored OS is anywhere near completion.

Except, Motorola already has a web-based OS that’s complete and on the market right now. I’m talking about Webtop, the software that runs on the Motorola Atrix’s laptop dock and set-top dock. If it didn’t have a little window for running the phone’s Android apps, there’d be nothing Google about it.

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The Atrix 4G: A First Draft of the Future

Over at TIME.com, my new Technologizer column is about Motorola’s Atrix 4G, the potent Android handset on AT&T’s network with a truly unique optional accessory: a laptop dock that depends on the phone for its brains, storage, and Internet connection. It turns the Atrix from a PC-like phone into a notebook. (Another dock, with a wireless keyboard and mouse, turns the Atrix into a desktop computer; I wasn’t able to test it.)

Executive summary of my review: The Atrix is a nifty phone that would be on my short list if I was in the market for an Android handset. As for the laptop dock–well, it’s a nice piece of industrial design that does what it’s supposed to do, but I found the experience a bit glitchy and sluggish. And as Jared wrote, the pricing of the dock makes it less tempting than if it had been a low-cost add-on. It’s $500 unless you agree to a two-year tethering contract and $500 for both the phone and the dock if you do commit, and either way, it only works if you pay $20 a month for tethering on top of your voice and data plan.

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Confirmed: AT&T, Motorola Have Ruined the Atrix 4G

When I heaped lavish praise on Motorola’s Atrix 4G smartphone during CES, those plaudits came with a caveat: For this wacky modular computing concept to work, AT&T needed reasonable pricing for the Atrix’s laptop dock and accompanying data plans.

Unfortunately, that won’t be the case. When Atrix 4G pre-orders begin on February 13, the phone itself will cost $200 like almost every other Android superphone on the market — no problems there.

But the laptop dock, which taps the phone’s processor to run a full version of the Firefox browser, will cost $500 on its own. You can get the phone and dock together for $500, but then you’ll have to include tethering (another $20 per month) in your contract. And even if you don’t take the bundle, the dock will still require tethering to access AT&T’s network.

The laptop dock consists only of a screen, keyboard, mouse and battery, and yet it costs the same on its own as an entire high-powered netbook, processor and all. That alone is a dealbreaker. But the real disappointment is AT&T’s attitude towards the very concept of docking. Even though the dock’s sole functionality is to browse the web — and not perform bandwidth-intensive desktop tasks like online gaming or peer-to-peer file sharing — AT&T still treats it like a full-blown laptop.

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Eight Things I Liked at CES

I liked CES 2011. I found it useful and fun. I’m glad I went. None of those reactions were a given–I understand why some folks question the show’s very reasons for existing, and I’ve been known to accentuate the negative myself.  This year, however, there was a critical mass of interesting stuff, in multiple categories.

From Tuesday afternoon of last week through Saturday, I spent so much time learning about new products that I didn’t cover all that many of them here while the show was going on. So here’s a catch-up post with a few of the ones that made this CES one of the best ones in my memory–despite the insane crowds, the aisles and aisles of lookalike phone covers, and the jingling case of  slot-machine tinnitus that I still can’t quite shake.

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The Motorola Atrix 4G: This is Huge

Not to get all gushy or anything, but I think one of Harry’s best opinion columns here was the one from March 2009 about how smartphones are destined to replace the PC, and how the comforts of full-sized computing — keyboard, mouse, monitor — will become dumb shells for our powerful handsets.

Motorola’s Atrix 4G is an indication that he’s right. The phone itself marks a technological leap, as one of several new Android handsets with dual-core processors, but the real revolution is an optional dock that acts like a laptop when the phone is plugged in. There’s also a separate HD dock for televisions and external monitors, with USB ports for full-sized keyboards and mouses. Ladies and gentlemen: your dumb shells.

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