The Only Computer You’ll Ever Need!
It might look rather unremarkable and that’s, because, frankly it is you see in 2007 at t was selected as the launch carrier for the original iphone, and while we tend to forget it today, it wasn’t until the iphone 4 that you could purchase an iphone on another Carrier in the united states so because of this verizon, the largest carrier without the iphone had leaned heavily into android, with a lot of highly memorable droid does commercials and ads plastered all over the country at t, on the other hand, well, perhaps due to secret contractual Obligations with apple or maybe just sheer satisfaction with the iphone. It really didn’t have very many compelling android offerings available on their network, but once rumors and rumblings that the next generation iphone would be offered in a cdma variant on verizon wireless at t. Well, they seem to get their butt into gear to compete with the largest carrier in the united states, the one with all of the flagship smartphones, and also soon to be the iphone 4.. So, at ces 2011 at t announced three new android handsets the htc, inspire 4g, the samsung infused 4g and well this the motorola atrix 4g. Now the specs on this phone for the time were flagship quality, android 2.2, a dual core nvidia tegra 2 chipset a front facing video camera for video calls and a 4 inch qhd display and nope, not the qhd you’re thinking of the big q means quad, hd Or 1440p this was a little cute, which meant quarter hd or a resolution of 960 by 540 pixels.
Now it was pretty high resolution for the time, but at four inches and with a tft lcd, i just it doesn’t look gorgeous by today’s standards in the slightest. However, it was respectable, especially for the time, if not a little bit short of apple’s marketing claims that a smartphone would need a pixel density of 300 pixels per inch to qualify as retina now common for handsets at the time it had a removable battery, expandable micro Sd storage slot and a suitable, if not premium, plastic built. Now the phone was noted for its speed at the time rapidly outpacing its snapdragon s2 cousins, but it wasn’t the only tegra 2 smartphone on the block and the samsung exynos processors, especially the galaxy series, just kept up fine with the atrix 4g. It was a good phone, but nothing insane. So then, why did this device win? The best of ces award? Well, take it away 17 year old quinn, hey guys. This is quinn that snazzy iphone guy here at the motorola booth at ces 2011. uh. We have dave here with us and he’s, going to show us uh this pretty cool little motorola netbook that just came out how you doing yeah. This is dave. This is actually not even a netbook it’s, actually called our laptop dock and basically it’s, going to work hand in hand with our new device, which is the motorola atrix 4g for atnt. Basically, how this works is this unit here.
This is just actually a battery independent, a battery with a screen and a keyboard. There is no processor anything in this device, there’s, not even actually a power button, so without the phone it’s, actually useless, and now over a decade later, i have one such potentially useless device, although my voice is not as low as it used to be. This is the motorola laptop and mine is actually still sealed in the package. This thing has never been opened before until now, so let’s take a look at it. If we open up the packaging, this thing is seriously brand new. We lift up this cardboard sleeve and inside is the actual lap dock. It has been sitting here: wow that’s, pretty thin it’s, been sitting here for over a decade, so we’ll get to this in a second. What are the other accessories? You get a microfiber. Oh is a bag of some sort. I don’t know what, for probably your power adapter, you get a little manual that says lap dock motorola let’s look inside here, um connect. This appears to be in only spanish, so this was probably sold somewhere in latin america. Now let’s open the accessory packet. This packaging is quite nice, i must say it’s all black and heavy, and here we’ve got our power adapter. That is not insubstantial, that’s pretty chunky, little thing and then we’ve got a power cable as well, so yeah that’s. What this power would be for carrying your power, adapter and that’s that’s, it that’s all that’s inside the box, so let’s look at the laptop itself.
This thing is, i don’t want to say remarkably thin, because this was 2011. You know the macbook air existed, but this is a thin device, it’s thinner, probably than my ipad pro with magic keyboard so for reference it’s fairly thin here on the back, you’ve got two usb ports and then you’ve got a headphone jack. Interestingly um, i don’t know where you would nope that’s, not a headphone, jack that’s power. I was gon na say i don’t know where you would charge it right here, so that uses kind of a barrel plug rather than usb, or something like that, and then back here you’ve got the little door that you can tip up and you plug your phone Inside i must say this is some very nice soft touch rubber. It might be kind of coming apart after a decade, but it at one point was probably pretty nice we’ll take the atrix, and then we just dock it in and that’s it there. You go we’ll open up the lid and oh baby. That thing is perfectly brand new. You have a nice brushed finish here that i was a little worried about that. The battery has swelled in the last decade a fair bit. The whole deck is flexed upwards. So that’ll be fun to charge and uh we’ve got our keyboard here, which is very small and feels pretty terrible, so uh, yeah, let’s uh, maybe open this up and check out the health of the battery, because this has got some major flex in it.
You can never trust old technology. Unfortunately, when i put the phone inside of the lap dock, the display booted up just fine, but i didn’t get any input from my keyboard or trackpad. So i want to disassemble it a little bit and see if there’s any components inside of here that the swelled batteries might have jostled loose as we open this little bit up here, we’ve got a ribbon cable that just simply powers on the power led that’s. It that’s easy to disconnect, and this thing is really brutally simple. We have here our i o, so let me explain really quickly how this works. You’Ve got a micro, hdmi port right here, and that provides video in to the display to the screen. But then you’ve got a usb port right here. This not only supplies your phone with power, but also acts as a usb out, so that the input from the track pad and from the keyboard, as well as anything you have plugged into the usb ports, can go back into the phone, which again is the central Processing unit that’s, where everything is done. All this is, is a tv basically with a keyboard and a mouse glued to it very, very simple, and if i open up this connector here, i’m guessing, which is the display connector and then four screws that hold the screen in place check this out, the display Comes right off, as for the keyboard, this appears to be held in with a bunch of smaller screws here and if i remove all these and a couple ribbon, cables that i have loosened i’m assuming one is for the trackpad and one is for the keyboard and There’S one more little connector, hiding down here and all this does – is connect to the little display down here.
Like those old macbooks, you could push the button and it would tell you with leds how much power is remaining but other than that that’s. The whole thing, and unfortunately, i didn’t see any disconnected ribbon cables so i’m, not optimistic about this working. Who knows, though, but we’ve got our trackpad our keyboard battery and then this little tiny logic board that has power in usb a a display controller and our two ports up here, hdmi in usb out that’s it. This thing is crazy, simple: why did it cost 500? Okay, so bad news, it still doesn’t work. I don’t know why, because the keyboard and the trackpad they’re getting power – and i know that because there’s a status led on the trackpad, i thought – maybe i can use a usb keyboard and mouse. No, it doesn’t work. The phone actually explicitly says that it can support a bluetooth, keyboard and mouse, but those don’t work either so i’m pretty much left with one option and that is use the the touchscreen on the phone as a trackpad behind the display it’s not elegant, but it works. So let’s plug the phone in and it doesn’t plug in quite as easily as you might think and you’ll see that a boot logo shows up on the atrix laptop now. Why is there a boot logo isn’t it just running a mirrored version of android? No, not really, this device is actually running a virtualized session of debian linux ubuntu to be more accurate.
So this is linux. On top of android, which is linux but it’s, a completely separate environment, it’s it’s very strange now, you might think wait a minute that’s your home screen. Yes, it is on this side of the display you have android apps and on this side of the display you have. Linux, apps and the general operating system and kind of desktop environment looks very familiar up here in the top right corner. You have your time, your speaker volume. Yes, there were speakers in here, your battery life, your cellular signal, bluetooth, wi, fi it’s. Just you know, it’s it’s. What you’d expect then there’s an odd setting section that has some pretty crazy stuff. You can set up network proxies. You can look up memory management for the android device and then you can even use a screen saver. Now if we go into the screen, savers, you might think that doesn’t look like a motorola, specific screen, saver and that’s because they weren’t this was a stock screen. Saver that was available in most linux distros at the time and so that’s pretty much what was done here. It doesn’t seem that motorola did a whole lot to its web top environment. Now, if you go into the left, like i mentioned here, you can open up android apps, so let’s open the contacts app there you go, it opens let’s open the messaging app it opens. And again this is just a windowed version of our smartphone screen.
I can navigate it and scroll through it like. I would on the phone itself now, because this is not a touch screen. It’S not hyper elegant, but it works. Another thing, that’s kind of cool is that from a multitasking standpoint you could navigate through these tabs. So i can go back to my messaging app by clicking the messaging tab. I can go back to my contacts by clicking there pretty cool in an era before really good kind of task management windows from the actual android phone you were using. Furthermore, you could open up this little multitasking window and, while it wouldn’t show you specific tabs inside of your mobile device, a bit of a bummer, it would show you all of the other linux applications that you had to open at a specific time now, inside of The phone here i can go full screen and i can also rotate the display. Should i want to do that and then again i have access to my tabs up here and i have access to my android phone’s hotkeys like the home button. Now this isn’t restretching the os to fit this display. This is not running the tablet version of android it’s, literally just my phone mirrored but larger, so not super elegant. But i can kind of understand why motorola decided to do this because the android tablet ecosystem was not very healthy in 2011 and one could argue that it really never did get that healthy, but it really wasn’t healthy in the super early days of tablet.
Support on android now on the right side, like i mentioned, you have linux apps. Now this is really weird. If you open file manager, for example, this may look familiar to old school linux users. This is nautilus, which is actually a pretty traditional file browser. You would find supported in gnome or gnome, however, you pronounce it gif jif whatever – and this was originally developed by by many kind of famous star sata developers, including andy hertzfeld, of apple fame. So this is just a very basic kind of file browser. You could look through the internal storage on your android phone. You could even display private and hidden folders, so you could get into the var and the mobile folders. You could get root access through this file browser to your phone, pretty crazy, and then you had a number of tabs down here now. These look like a bunch of apps but they’re, not web top zone, motorola videos, they’re just web pages and they’re bookmarked facebook as well that’s, because there is the firefox web browser and this is the linux version of firefox. So it is, and was at the time a really fully fledged browser now, because the internet has changed like crazy and ssl, and everything is this just doesn’t load, but back at the time this was regarded as a desktop class browser when a bunch of smartphones were Still loading crappy mobile websites. Furthermore, it supported flash, which is pretty amazing.
A lot of the internet was still on flash in 2011, much less than in 2007 when the iphone launched. But you could play flash games, you could watch flash videos on youtube. It was pretty amazing and just to load a more modern web page. If we open the snazzy labs webpage, there you go, it opens up just fine, and this is, for all intents and purposes the firefox web browser it doesn’t really look all that unique or special, but it is and was fairly powerful. Now we get to the kind of last thing available and that seems like the end of our tour so soon and that’s, because that’s really all it did, is entertainment center. This was also an android app, but it worked with webtop to go full screen, and so you can actually look at the back of the phone here and it turns your phone into a remote which is pretty crazy. So you could use your phone as a remote to navigate through the operating system and it could show you. I can look here, photos, pictures and videos and that’s about it. So if we click into pictures here, you can play a slideshow and there’s the one photo. I took of the motorola atrix laptop that’s, it very simple, very limited, but for the time maybe powerful, the idea of the laptop it was perhaps good in principle, but at 500 it was far more than a budget netbook and even exceeded the cost of a new Ipad to make matters worse, the laptop only functioned when the phone was connected to wi fi and a fairly massive bug released by motorola in a software update, messed up the wi fi modems of many atrix users with wi fi, frequently dropping out, which was annoying when Using your phone regularly but catastrophic, with the laptop as the entire session would close in an error.
Not quite the experience. You’D expect from an 800 setup, and neither att nor motorola wanted to accept fault. But it was discovered by users that replacing the onboard two and a half volt cmos battery with a three volt variant would fix the issue, but expecting users to solder their own batteries to a board is hardly fun and not very easy. If you ignore the atrix, the lap dock is actually still used by a select few number of people since it’s. Basically, just a tv using a female micro, hdmi adapter one can display in theory anything they want, and the laptop has actually been used by a raspberry pi enthusiast for years. I don’t think that the atrix was a total failure. Even today, the dream of using a smartphone as a computer, it lives on both huawei’s harmony, os and samsung’s decks attempt to bridge the gap between pocket, computer and real computer. This time they run native android instead of emulated linux. But the problem with dex is that you either need to create an elaborate dongle setup with an existing computer, monitor or just use a windows or mac laptop to display decks on the go which kind of defeats. The purpose of dex in the first place look products like the nextdoc have come to market to push decks forward to places that well samsung refuses to take it to, but nothing since the atrix has had quite the same charm or dedication to a smartphone powered computer And well maybe the failure of atrix is the reason why, but i wish it weren’t.
Did you ever own or see an atrix 4g laptop? Let me know in your comments below in your comments. Yeah. I guess they are your comments on my video okay. Well, that’s enough from me. Thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video, give it a like if you didn’t, well, send this video to someone you hate.