updated 12:10 am EDT, Tue October 11, 2011
Motorola Atrix 2 unveiled at CTIA
Motorola and AT&T took a second shot at giving Android a primetime position on the carrier Tuesday by launching the Atrix 2, a sequel to the flagship phone shipped just several months ago. The new version uses faster HSPA+ data, up from 14.4Mbps to 21Mbps, and carries a bigger 4.3-inch 540x940 that switches away from Pentile pixels for a sharper look. The design has also switched out the Tegra 2 in favor of a TI OMAP chip, which still carries two 1GHz cores but is fast enough to record and shoot 1080p video.
Equally new is the Lapdock 100, an updated companion notebook shell. It runs a smaller 10-inch screen and uses a cable to link up with the Atrix 2 rather than a proprietary docking port, possibly in an attempt to futureproof the cradle. As before, it has its own battery and expansion to turn it into a notebook when mixed with the desktop-like Webtop interface.
The upgrade carries an eight-megapixel rear camera and a front facing camera. Storage includes both 8GB of built-in space as well as a microSDHC slot, which comes with a 2GB card already loaded inside. Motorola's phone sits as one of its first on AT&T to combine both Android 2.3 with its modern interpretation of Blur.
In potentially unfortunate timing, the Atrix 2 is due to reach AT&T stores on October 16, two days after the iPhone 4S is in stores. Pricing is much more aggressive than before at $100 on a contract and without the need for a rebate, hinting at Motorola's hopes of undercutting Apple on features for the price.
As the initial iPhone carrier, AT&T has almost always kept Android in the minority and to this day still credits the iPhone for the majority of its smartphones. Motorola's original Atrix was supposed to be proof AT&T was committed to high-end Android but, though critically well received, saw its sales taper off and lead to steep price cuts fairly quickly.