While some of you may not agree that tablets may eventually seep into the computer realm and take over home computing, there are several technologies floating around that do put the computer world at risk. Many have reveled at the thought of Motorola's latest mobile “accessory.” The Motorola Atrix 4G was announced and handled back at CES last month, but it wasn't alone. It was being shown off with its close partner in crime, the Motorola Laptop Dock. Though not the first of its kind, it's a genuinely cool concept and appears to work more smoothly than previous attempts.
If the weighty specifications of the Atrix 4G itself isn't enough to tempt customers to take to the Motorola path, the addition of a laptop dock could give the device the extra push it needs to outdo the competition. Paired with the dock, the Atrix 4G can essentially be turned into a lightweight laptop with all your essentials on hand. You can take care of your text messaging, emails, and even play the games – that are installed on your phone – from the dock.
Many of us expected no less than the phone to hit the market for somewhere around the subsidized price of $200. That's the norm these days. But we all questioned what the price point of the dock would be. Being a big selling point for the Atrix, you would have expected the price of the add-on to be rather competitive. There had been some rumors floating around of the dock running for $150, a very reasonable price. Instead, the price of the unbundled dock is $500. If you buy the dock with the phone, you get the two for $500 after a $100 mail-in rebate.
Unfortunately, this $500 bundle in not a “no strings attached” deal. A 2GB data package will be required and users will have to agree to pay the additional tethering fee. It may be a nice chunk of change to save instantly, but it will cost quite a bit more in the long run, especially for those who currently have a 200MB data plan.
That said, I'm not so sure people will be lining up to get their Laptop Dock with their Atrix. While the Redfly Mobile Companion for your BlackBerry handset isn't exactly as appealing or as functional as this Atrix dock appears to be, I would much rather shell out $200 for a “terminal” than $500. Even if it does reek of 1995.
The Laptop Dock has essentially no internals. It is a 11.6-inch display with a keyboard, touchpad, speakers, and a battery. The obvious key benefits of it are the large display, full FireFox web browser, and the ability to run your Android applications from a laptop-like form factor. In short, it is like having a netbook with a mobile operating system on it; and in my opinion, not worth $500. Not even close.
I could understand $250, or maybe even $300 (what you pay in the bundle) for the dock, but at the price of a decent laptop or a more portable and flexible tablet, I'm not sure other people will be able to justify the dock either. Let's just hope the Atrix 4G has enough oomph to hold its own (which I believe it does), because it doesn't look like the Laptop Dock will be of much support. Would you pay $500 for the Motorola Laptop Dock? Or would you prefer to just go without or spend your money on a tablet?