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Can the Atrix 4G Really Become Your Next PC?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the seems-clunky-from-here dept.

Android 297

GMGruman writes "The Motorola Atrix 4G got a lot of attention at CES because of its ability to dock to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and run the full desktop Firefox browser in addition to its Android apps. Now that it is shipping, I took the Atrix 4G and its Multimedia Dock and related peripherals out this week for a test-drive to see if delivers on this 'post-PC' promise. The verdict: It's a good first half-step toward mobile devices being your primary computer. The end of the Windows hegemony is in sight."

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297 comments

single page link... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353292)

Single page link...

http://www.infoworld.com/print/152843 [infoworld.com]

Re:single page link... (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353634)

Who authorized this story? Why wasn't I notified that there was going to be a pro-Android story on the front page?

Somebody get the Apple Nation on the line. We need some trolls here, STAT! Go! Go! Go! We're bleeding here, people!

Ahaha. Atrix next PC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353304)

Very funny you guys. You, guys, very funny.

Wait.

Is not joke.

Not amused.

Re:Ahaha. Atrix next PC. (3, Funny)

Snaller (147050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353734)

Oh Bill, get a sense of humor.

Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (2, Funny)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353306)

If it was done with something a bit more open than Android, it might have a shot at replacing netbooks.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353336)

Android's more open than most other Phone OS's. Given it's capabilities, I'm sure someone will hack it to run full-fledged desktop linux eventually.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

akirapill (1137883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353340)

Oh yeah. I forgot that 'Openness' is what makes or breaks products in the marketplace.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353646)

it tends to for geek targeted products

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (3, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353728)

it tends to for geek targeted products

I weep for the 1% market. We never get what we want (at a price we can afford). Only the cool kids decide what crap becomes cheap.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353740)

> Oh yeah. I forgot that 'Openness' is what makes or breaks products in the marketplace.

The market for the last 50 years has been dominated by devices that weren't intentionally crippled by their vendors.

This isn't about "radical political ideology". This is about just getting stuff done.

In this case, someone managed to lower the bar even further in terms of what "openness" means such that even Microsoft can stumble over it.

"I can run what I want" versus "I can recompile anything".

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353890)

The market for the last 50 years has been dominated by devices that weren't intentionally crippled by their vendors.

There's lots of markets. Which market, exactly, do you speak of?

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (5, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353892)

Oh yeah. I forgot that 'Openness' is what makes or breaks products in the marketplace.

Let's see, open vs. closed:

Internet vs. AOL
CD vs. minidisc
Linux vs. UNIX
gzip/lzma/bzip2 vs. bzip
OpenSSH vs. SSH
OpenSSL vs. anything closed
AES vs. anything closed
Apache vs. IIS

Yup, that sounds about right.

Almost everything you use won because it's open, you just don't notice it anymore because it won so long ago that it just seems like part of the scenery now. DNS, DHCP, TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, C++, Kerberos, LDAP, 802.3, 802.11, USB, the BSD sockets API, etc. etc. All things equal, customers prefer open to closed. Which means that closed is a state that can only exist prior to an open competitor reaching compatibility and substantial feature parity with the leading closed alternative, at which point customers choose the open alternative.

The only way closed is a long-term condition is when it is propped up by a monopoly, a cartel or a government.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353908)

There is one exception, and I am assuming the devil's advocate role here:

Microsoft Exchange. It is not an open source product, but finding a company that is not dependent on Exchange (especially if they have to deal with PCI/DSS2, SOX, HIPAA, FERPA, or other regs) is a rare exception.

Of course, Google and IBM are exceptions, but pretty much Exchange is the only game in town if one wants to get past basic E-mail.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353442)

Yeah I know. Being able to download the kernel, driver, and Android sources directly from Motorola, the maker of my Droid phone, is so prohibitive. Microsoft is way better.

Maybe you were looking for another word: like powerful, or unencumbered.

Moto's crippled bootloader (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353548)

Being able to download the kernel, driver, and Android sources directly from Motorola, the maker of my Droid phone, is so prohibitive.

Good luck getting your recompiled kernel+driver+Android sources past the well-locked-down bootloader on any Motorola Android device newer than the original Droid.

Re:Moto's crippled bootloader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353658)

Which has nothing at all to do with open source.

But yes, Android is occasionally encumbered, which is why I wrote that it was.

Though like the unhacked PS3, you don't buy the locked-down phones if you want to flash them with unsigned ROMs. At that point you're just being a whiny bitch.

Re:Moto's crippled bootloader (5, Insightful)

cronot (530669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353840)

Being able to download the kernel, driver, and Android sources directly from Motorola, the maker of my Droid phone, is so prohibitive.

Good luck getting your recompiled kernel+driver+Android sources past the well-locked-down bootloader on any Motorola Android device newer than the original Droid.

Fair enough. However, this is not Android's (the OS) fault - the bootloader locking mechanism is hardware based, so only Motorola's to blame here. As always in these cases, all you can do is vote with your wallet: get a HTC or some other brand that doesn't lock you out of your property.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353448)

For "apps" you have Android, and Web based.. Firefox is running through Linux.. I am certain, that someone will find some ways to take advantage and get access to running Linux apps as well.. If your point is running Widows apps.. can be done.. other than that, I guess maybe you should design your open platform.. whatever it is that you have in mind.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (5, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353616)

$400 for a netbook that doesn't run windows. Hell, doesn't even run when it's not hooked up to your phone. You can buy a netbook running windows 7 (or a full linux distro of choice) for under $300.

How about something more original, like docking into a tablet?

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353660)

This is my exact problem with Tablets and smartphones. Sure things will get cheaper eventually, and you'll be able to use these mobile devices as your primary computer, but it just isn't there yet. You can get a much more capable laptop that can dual boot a full windows / Linux, desktop, most of them with the power to run Windows and run Linux in a VM for less than the price of most tablets, or even a lot of smart phones on the market. Basically you end up paying quite a bit for something that only does half the job.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353938)

and your reason why tablets have taken this long to work into the market place and why ever version up until now has sucked.

You can't imagine your way out of a paper bag.

a tablet will never replace your desktop it isn't meant to. if you think it will your wrong. It is a complement. a secondary or tertiary device. do you have one sheet of paper one pencil and one ruler to work with? Or do you have multiple pens/ pencils, dozens of sheets of paper, rulers, compasses, squares, scissors tape, paper clips, etc.

a tablet isn't going to be your only computer.

Re:Not as long as it's done in a crippled way. (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353884)

You can fetch the source from a git repository, compile it, flash it to your device and have a complete working OS stack. The majority of the software is OSI approved. How much more open do you want?

You mean, is the PC dead? (2)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353310)

Because, well, that's the real question. Can we do away with PCs and windows? ...

I think the answer is obvious. YES. It's the year of the linux desktop.



... *sigh* I mean no ... *double sigh*

Re:You mean, is the PC dead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353364)

and ripping video/audio, and basically doing anything that "they" don't want us to do.
Can't beat 'em with software? Can't beat with law? Well then, let's cut off the hardware.

Re:You mean, is the PC dead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353446)

Obviously if you cant do it 'in the cloud' you're either doing it wrong or its something illegal.
If its not illegal then why aren't you sharing all your data with us.

Can it run my Steam games? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353320)

Then no, it won't replace my PC.

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (1)

zombiechan (1979698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353360)

Exactly, As long as theres PC gamers, there will be PCs.
PC are not dead.... not for a long time.

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353592)

Exactly, As long as theres PC gamers, there will be PCs.
  PC are not dead.... not for a long time.

Yes, PC's are not going anywhere within the next 5 years. But as for games, phones play games as well. I don't know if you've been paying attention, but hottest processor coming out for phones is an nvidia designed, quad-core processor running at 1 GHz with integrated 3d acceleration and it is NOT hampered by the i386 instruction set we've been slave to for the past 20 years. Games will not be a problem. And the beauty of it is that you will be able to take the game with you, wherever you go and stay online the entire time. These things will play games at least as good as a PC (eventually) with the ability to stick it in your pocket and take it on the road.

What happens after 5 years? The hardware and software will be "good enough" to replace PC's in both games and productivity. The portability will allow them to take over even if not as powerful as PC's and still take over. Of course, in the workplace, servers will still be "PC's", but all the clients will be plugging their phones into docking stations to connect their phones to the keyboard, mouse and monitor so they can get real work done.

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353674)

But as for games, phones play games as well.

Oh, come on.

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (2)

redJag (662818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353814)

Hey guys, PopeRatzo is right. I mean, come on. Yeah, come on!

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353862)

Seeing as most PC games these days are ported from the console and are unfriendly to modding there's little point in being a PC gamer anymore. Software DRM is just another insult.

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353410)

Add on a plethora of other deals. Can it run the multiple different versions of Dragon and other applications used in a professional setting (Medical, Legal, etc. to begin taking it more specific)? That's where my job is currently situated. I only run Windows in a VM, but I have those VMs (need different ones for different purposes--including situations where I need to have multiple VMs open at once to get something of a network setup for development purposes related to the software I develop for clients) open just about every day. Until something like this can completely take over that position, it's not very worthwhile to my professional life.

Now, in my consumer/personal life... well, minus maybe some games (Steam as you mention, amongst others, which is the rarity of me booting into Windows on my Laptop) and other things, this stuff looks pretty damn promising. It's just a start, but it's a start in the right direction for what Motorola wants to achieve (whether that is backwards or not from what I think is the actual right direction).

Re:Can it run my Steam games? (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353666)

Granted, I hear ya, I have a large collection of Steam games myself, but OnLive and more recently Gaikai accomplish some quite dramatic feats. I hope Valve continues fully embrace "the cloud" and begins to offer similar access to your already purchased games.

the answer is a NO (1)

fregare (923563) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353322)

NO. Any questions? Got a problem with that?

Talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?

"I just got a mohican dyed orange"

No root Previlege (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353324)

...makes it an non-PC platform. PC means you have root. Plus its size, a bit too larger then the Macbook Air, makes it disqualified to be an ultraportable.

I can believe it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353358)

An iPad that I won, when combined with a hard-shell case with built-in keyboard (a ZaggMate, if you're curious) has completely replace my notebook computer. There are plenty of use-cases I can think of where it wouldn't work for everyone, but for my usage scenarios, I don't miss anything.

A friend who works as an on-site computer technician owns both a full-feature notebook (for various definitions of full-feature: it's a MacBook Air) and an iPad. He admitted yesterday that he uses the iPad for 95% of his on-site work. Only when he needs to download a file for a customer does he need to use the notebook. And he's now working out a solution for that by tethering his iPad's 3G to an AirPort Express in device mode, Ethernetted over to the customer machine.

Re:I can believe it. (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353684)

Sad, the device fails to completely fulfill it's role as a replacement when "he needs to download a file". All I'm saying is "of all things..."

Re:I can believe it. (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353794)

A friend who works as an on-site computer technician owns both a full-feature notebook (for various definitions of full-feature: it's a MacBook Air) and an iPad.

Jesus wept.

NFW (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353372)

The Atrix -- which costs $199 with a two-year contract from AT&T Wireless in the United States -- ...

Shove it!

Landline + dumbphone + home Internet (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353600)

From the article:

The Atrix -- which costs $199 with a two-year contract from AT&T Wireless in the United States -- ...

Anonymous Coward wrote:

Shove it!

Quoted for truth. Adding a monthly cell phone plan can be expensive for people who are currently happy with the combination of a bare-bones land line, a dumbphone with $5/mo service for those few calls that can't wait (such as arranging a ride home), a PDA or netbook that gets Wi-Fi, and home Internet access allowing more than single-digit GB/mo.

Re:Landline + dumbphone + home Internet (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353726)

Such people obviously aren't the market for a bloody smart phone.

Re:Landline + dumbphone + home Internet (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353906)

Don't forget to add on the fact that you are locked into the revision of Android Motorola has placed on the device unless they feel like blessing you with an upgrade. Punitive measures like signing the kernel serve no one's purposes but Motorola's, and is a downgrade in capability compared to a regular PC simply from an ownership standpoint.

Re:NFW (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353692)

Is there any two year contract that doesn't involve the shoving of its?

The question is (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353376)

Can it run Crysis? Also, from TFA:

data, which would be too risky to carry around everywhere anyway. Sorry, folks, you won't escape cloud services

Yeah, because the "Ooops we accidentally deleted your emails" from Google and also Hotmail a while back, plus countless other examples from other "cloud" providers, establish beyond a doubt the trustworthiness of the "cloud"... Nah, I will keep my desktop for now, thanks.

Re:The question is (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353696)

Is there anyone that didn't get their emails back?

Re:The question is (1)

Jonboy X (319895) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353716)

Cloud service reliability will only get better. A total loss of data is still *much* less likely with data stored on my hard drive. Granted, regular backups would help a lot, but I'm too lazy.

Re:The question is (1)

Jonboy X (319895) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353720)

Err, data loss is *more* likely on my hard disk.

Re:The question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353752)

Accidental loss of data in the cloud is far less than losing the data when kept only locally.

Don't keep all your eggs in one basket. Make backups. But that does not negate the fact that the data is far safer than the local machine for an average user.

Re:The question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353864)

Can it run Crysis?

I hope you're kidding,
I've got 4 PC's and 3 laptops in my household, and only one of them has the dedicated graphics required for crysis.

Real convergence (3, Interesting)

2Bits (167227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353382)

... could have happened with MeeGo, it's a damn desktop computer in your pocket, all you need is a dock, and preferably with standard connection port, and you are there. The dock could even come from a different manufacturer in the ecosystem. But heck, with the recent turn of events, it's not going to happen anyway.

Re:Real convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353434)

Microsoft got where they are by taking advantage of the other guys mistakes.

Re:Real convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353612)

Which other companies are happy to help with:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/28/advancetcs-4-8-inch-tabletphone-runs-windows-7-on-a-1-6ghz-atom/ [engadget.com]

A large-ish (for smart phone norms) device that runs Windows 7 and has phone capabilities, including wake-on-SMS/Call to keep some semblance of battery life. It can also have monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked up to it and act as a 'desktop'.

I'd imagine it'd be quite annoying to actually work with, if they ever actually make it available, but I'm liking the direction that mobile devices like these (including the Atrix) are taking.

Re:Real convergence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353630)

Yeah, except that's the problem - it's a desktop computer in your pocket, and nobody wants a desktop computer in their pocket. (outside of megageeks)

This is why MeeGo was a complete failure.

Re:Real convergence (0)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353928)

Oh hello there troll.

No, no that's not it at all. MeeGo has not failed, it is still progressing. It needs wins on platforms, but I suppose if that's how you see it you can go enjoy your crippled mobile operating systems that are gimp for no good reason (except advertising and monetization.)

Oh and CmdrTaco: fix this stupid five minute delay between posts! Not all of us are so mentally slow that we need a whole 5 minutes to write up a thought and post it.

Trucks vs Bikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353392)

Android is still a "bike" OS compared to full size Truck OSes like MacOS X, X11-based Linux and Windows. I have both android and iOS devices but they always need to dock to PCs to do the heavy work.

Re:Trucks vs Bikes again (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353714)

The problem is the phone is a thin-client trying to act like a full-blown computer whereas instead it should be utilized for what it is - a thin-client.

Interesting... (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353396)

When you dock the Atrix, the Firefox browser and other dock-provided services aren't running from the Atrix but instead from a stripped-down Linux PC inside the dock.

Re:Interesting... (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353598)

So it's not actually doing away with anything, and actually requires a full fledged PC to do those things? Sounds like a non-story.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353736)

Wrong. Everything runs on the phone.

To be fair, it's not you that's wrong, you're just repeating bad information.

Thunderbolt (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353408)

I wonder if this is where Apple is headed with Thunderbolt (née Light Peak) ? A thunderbolt-equipped iPhone could drive a large external display and still have a seperate 10 Gbps multi protocol data channel left over which to drive peripherals, which is plenty fast.

Re:Thunderbolt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353532)

I wonder if this is where Apple is headed with Thunderbolt (née Light Peak) ? A thunderbolt-equipped iPhone could drive a large external display and still have a seperate 10 Gbps multi protocol data channel left over which to drive peripherals, which is plenty fast.

s/iPhone/iPad/ and I think it's more profitable for Apple (and thus likely).

Re:Thunderbolt (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353620)

You better go look at their balance sheet. They make about $600/iPhone and about $300/iPad.

OK, BUT CAN IT RUN LINUX ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353416)

Well?

Re:OK, BUT CAN IT RUN LINUX ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353428)

Don't be silly. Linux is for kids.

Oh thank god (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353426)

$600 for an underpowered everything? For a second there I thought my repair business was done for! ...I really need to adapt to the smartphone repair market...

It doesn't run on the phone? (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353452)

So I was reading the article and thinking "$400 for the laptop module? $200 + peripherals for the dock? Those are the equivalent of a cheap laptop/PC" Then I got to this tidbit:

"When you dock the Atrix, the Firefox browser and other dock-provided services aren't running from the Atrix but instead from a stripped-down Linux PC inside the dock. A real post-PC device would run everything from the smartphone or tablet, and it would use the dock to add more processing or take advantage of peripherals."

What? Why the heck am I buying this thing? All you're selling is an ultra-underpowered, crippled Linux computer that only works when a weird phone is plugged in for no particular reason. Syncing open tabs in FireFox is nice, but that's not enough. A simple app could do that. At home, I can keep a computer no problem. On the go, I still have to keep your laptop dock thing, so no space savings there.

Then there are other downsides. I'm guessing it drains the battery faster to use the laptop dock thing. The pictures of the laptop dock make it look really easy to snap the phone off the back accidentally and break the phone/dock. It's nice to know the reviewer doesn't think the thing feels secure in the dock.

This seems to be where computers will go for most people, but this first implementation clearly sounds more like a beta product than a first generation.

That's not a huge deal to me (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353518)

I can understand keeping the Linux implementation distinct from the phone. Depending on the distribution, it could eat up quite a bit of the phone's available memory to have full fledged LInux on it.

But what I can't really get is having a crippled Linux distribution on the various docks. No installing LaTeX and CTAN for you!

Re:That's not a huge deal to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353698)

WTF are you smoking man? Phones have 32GB of flash memory these days, there's no reason in hell to run a restricted subset of ${your_favorite_*n*x} on it.

Even Maemo and MeeGo are lame in depending on BusyBox in lieu of most GNU utilities, but if you can avoid dependencies on that, Maemo is essentially a full Debian-compatible system -- you can build practically anything from Debian source packages.

*steam pours out of ears*
Whoops, I just remembered the N900 ships with the root fs on NAND flash, and the bulk of the 32GB eMMC is a vfat partition for "user data" -- of course, since you've got root access, it's not hard to change to an emmc-root configuration like I'm running, but it fries my gizzard that they don't ship it that way.

Re:That's not a huge deal to me (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353778)

No kidding. My iPhone 4 is more powerful in every way (CPU, RAM, storage, 3D) than the first computer I ran Linux on, and that would have been a PII 300 in '97 or '98. I've run linux down on 386es with a few MB of RAM. If all you're doing is running a copy of FireFox, you shouldn't need a whole new shadow computer. Just some extra RAM hung off a bus to hold extra cached data (downloaded images, pages, etc) should be more than enough.

Re:That's not a huge deal to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353910)

I suspect the GP meant physical memory, not storage 'memory', since only morons make that confusion.

Even if he meant storage, you're still wrong. ROM space is 1-8GB typically; the remainder is for user data. Android was designed to fit on 1GB.

Re:It doesn't run on the phone? (1)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353550)

The dock has its own battery so it shouldn't drain the phone.

Accessing information on the phone from the dock is interesting, though a wireless option with something faster than bluetooth would be nice. The phone also acts as the data connection for the dock which could also be made wireless.

I'm not sure about calling it beta rather than first gen but there are areas that could be improved. Hopefully we can get a standard. Then phones will be able to easily interface with cars which is happening, but the API are different for the systems each auto manufacturer is using. I'll be interested to see where this goes in a few years.

Re:It doesn't run on the phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353670)

The dock has its own battery so it shouldn't drain the phone.

Wow, so the dock really *is* just a mildly retarded netbook without Wifi or 3G. Where can I sign up to waste $200 on this crap?

Re:It doesn't run on the phone? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353788)

No, the phone is $200 (on contract). The non-functional laptop dock is $400.

Re:It doesn't run on the phone? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353590)

This seems to be where computers will go for most people, but this first implementation clearly sounds more like a beta product than a first generation.

Agreed, but it's a step in the right direction. Being able to carry just a cell phone, and no laptop would be great. But my phone is never going to replace a good desktop at home, if you need one.

Re:It doesn't run on the phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353596)

I'd like an ecology that lets me use my phone and my laptop (PC) together as complements to each other. I'm sure that for some people web browsing and specially tailored apps are all that's necessary, but I'm not "some people". I need a PC to do my work, to do my serious play/hobbies... I need my phone to communicate and aid me in work when my PC is inconvenient. Just as my phone cannot replace my camera, it cannot replace my PC. It can only serve as a handy alternative on-the-go.

Re:It doesn't run on the phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353780)

The author of the article is talking out of his ass. Everything runs on the phone, as you would expect. And the laptop dock actually charges the phone, rather than draining it.

Next PC? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353484)

My N900 is the computer i use more in a way or another most days. But it don't replace my PC, complements it. Sometimes i need far more horsepower, memory, and bigger screen and input devices than my phone, and in that tasks the Atrix would fall short too. I don't know if future devices (using i.e. the Sixth Sense [ted.com] approach?) will improve a lot input and output of information for small devices, that coupled with improvements in battery, cpu and memory could make the PC less needed.

Maybe im using PC too much as synonymous of desktop computer (or big/powerful laptop), but still, odds should be even smaller than netbooks replacing PCs still.

Not until page 3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353492)

Not until page 3 does it tell us that the desktop version of Firefox isn't actually running from the phone, but from a separate processor *in the dock itself* that's running Linux. This isn't the post-PC world. The dock *is* a low-powered Linux PC with HDMI-out that can pair with the phone for mobile storage. No wonder it costs more than $100.

I thought about this idea years ago (1)

Nexusone1984 (1813608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353496)

I had similar thoughts of using a cell phone that way.

With the increase in storage space and shrinking on size of memory and hard drives. You could carry around all your documents and e-mails on your cell phone.

When home you dock your cell phone, the phone is charged and all your data is synced with docking station, which would house a larger hard drive and other devices like CD/DVD burner, printers.

The have the ability to use a monitor, keyboard and mouse when your not out on the road and use full screen app's.

When the cell phone app's let you access the data in a format suited for the cell phone.

Re:I thought about this idea years ago (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353636)

fuck me someone get this guy a nobel peace prize

I was more than a bit disappointed with this (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353510)

Something like the Atrix is close to the perfect machine for me.

But you can't install regular Linux apps. Someday this might work but until such time as the TeX/LaTeX toolchain gets ported, I'll be waiting.

Well, perhaps the other possibility would be for one of the online LaTeX providers to allow my customized stylesheets and all the modules from CTAN that I regularly use.

Online LaTeX providers? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353920)

There are online LaTeX providers? I've got to keep up.

End of the Wintel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353524)

I'm glad that they're using an ARM-based nVidia chip instead of Intel. Slashdotters complain about Google, Microsoft, Apple, AMD (sometimes), IBM (sometimes), Sony, and pretty much every movie/music distributor they can think of. But for some reason, for most here, Intel is above criticism. I don't know if it's because you're afraid Intel will track you through your Pentium 3's serial number, because your brains are like Pentium 4s and your perspectives only shift one bit per cycle, because you can't count all of the mistakes Intel made on your Pentiums, because Sandy Bridge's DRM keeps you from posting anything offensive to Intel, or because your Intel Graphics Media Accelerators don't let you see the forest for the trees, but there are a lot of Intel fanboys and yes-men on Slashdot.

No. (0)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353536)

Just no.

No.. but (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353544)

No, it can't. But it can replace your netbook or maybe a low powered notebook.

That's a good thing.

But the smartphone market will give a good kick in the arse to intel/AMD to start releasing much better hardware, for less money, to keep the desktop well ahead of the smartphone game. A brand new 900 dollar phone (600 + dock) is roughly on par with a 700 dollar laptop. That's pretty appealing. Desktops, well, I just priced out a bunch of desktops in the 1600-2000 dollar range, which are easily 10x more powerful, so if you have any use for the power, no, the phone won't do it.

10 years ago we passed the point of the hardware making much difference to a word processor. And we aren't quite at the point where the average desktop user can just dictate to their computer (though we're close, I managed a several setups like that for students with disabilities), and pretty much anything can web browse. Until software that people would use everyday catches up to hardware there's probably a market for a phone that replaces a desktop, and then we'll go back to a desktops. It's hurt intel and AMD I think that while transistor density may still be doubling every 18 ish months performance isn't. Core 2 -> i7->sandy bridge is like 20% performace gains clock for clock, at each step, and the clocks aren't much faster, and there aren't even more cores (because nothing uses 6 cores well yet, let alone 8, 12 or 16). HTML 5, and google's native code over the web etc. *might* change things a bit, giving people instant access to stuff. But all the great technologies we're touting, colour e-book readers, mp3 players, phones that can run programs aren't exactly great performance wise. I could read PDF's just as well 15 years ago as I can today, play music maybe 12 years ago as well as I can today, and any computer can run programs. The phone guys have done a good job using the web to make software accessible, but if the desktop guys could pull of the same there'd be demand there (and as someone else pointed out, my Steam games collection isnt' about to run on a phone).

Re:No.. but (0)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353690)

HTML 5, and google's native code over the web etc. *might* change things a bit, giving people instant access to stuff.

But all the great technologies we're touting, colour e-book readers, mp3 players, phones that can run programs aren't exactly great performance wise

What stuff? You mean FaecBook, garden-walled app/content repository or gmail/Ymail/hotmail and such?
No, thanks, I do value more being able to download some source code from sf.net and compile it, ssh to my personal server to create just another SMTP/IMAP account (when I need an one-off/disposable email), and whatnot.

Maybe because I'm might not be "of the people" that I don't see a value in churning shit with high performance?.

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LIke the PDA killed the Laptop, the laptop the PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353578)

NT

Nope, it won't be my next PC (-1, Troll)

slasher159 (2006736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353580)

But Archos will release this summer a 10' tablet [tinyurl.com] with the Ubuntu MID pre-installed and unlocked on it. That will be my computer.

Re:Nope, it won't be my next PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353700)

A 10' round tablet seems like an odd demographic...but it looks like it has nice place to hold it with both hands.

Get a USB hub (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353626)

From the article:

but if you're using the dock in a living room with your HDMI-equipped TV, adding USB cables in the mix could be awkward.

That's what USB hubs are for. Buy a USB hub and a 16-foot cable to the TV, and it'll reach your TV tray with no problem.

Further, using a USB keyboard means you'll lack the special Android keys (Menu, Home, Search, and Back) and will need to rely on the mouse to access their on-screen equivalents.

Then that's a defect in the port of Android. It should have used the menu key of a 104-key keyboard (between right Alt and right Control) for menu, Win+F for search, Win+Left or Win+Backspace for back, and Win for home. The author doesn't appear to mention having tried a "multimedia keyboard" either.

Android apps such as Quickoffice don't adjust to take advantage of the bigger screen as you would expect

Part of that is because the Android 2.3 certification requirements document requires a touch screen and a screen of at least 100 DPI. (It used to require things like GPS, a camera, and a cell phone, but those have been dropped sometime between 1.6 and 2.3.) Uncertified hardware has no official access to Android Market.

Nor does the article state whether or not supports loading apps from "Unknown sources", or whether it hides the checkbox like AT&T's Android phones do.

From the second article:

According to Google, it's all about supporting the HTML5 offline features AppCache and Local Storage.

I've looked up the limits on devices. AppCache: 5 MB. Local Storage: 5 MB. Good luck making meaningful offline support for any application dealing with data larger than that.

End of the Windows hegemony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353640)

I thought linux on the desktop was supposed to do that....

Already been done: Celio Redfly (1)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353650)

The Celio Redfly was doing this years ago with Windows Mobile and now offers a desktop connection that also supports BlackBerry http://www.celiocorp.com/companion [celiocorp.com]

The Answer (1)

Qatz (1209584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353652)

No

Re:The Answer (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353842)

Correct! It was a silly question in the first place.

no, no it can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353656)

No, no it can't. People are used to all the different things that PC's can do. Once you turn that into an appliance where it can only do certain things, then it's pointless. Sure people can desire that the PC become an appliance, but once they're told they can't do this and they can't do that, then they don't want it anymore. They don't understand that an appliance by it's nature is limited.

If all people did was check their email and surf the internet, then these appliances would have taken off years ago. And they haven't for this very reason.

Depends on the device (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353672)

A Motorola Atrix 4G? No, probably not. A Sony NGP-class device with quad-core CPU and quad-core GPU? Depending on the connectivity, quite possibly, for the majority of tasks. If it's got hardware accelerated HD video & flash, can attach to fast storage through the dock, I think most people wouldn't know the difference. The average person surfing the web, streaming video, using Facebook and email, and playing the latest pointless Zynga game, definitely not going to be a problem.

Are hardcore gamers going to be able to? Hell no, but that's a specialized subset of computer users.

How about a special 'gaming dock' for your new Sony NGP? Maybe something that works in conjunction with your PlayStation console? That may very well take care of many of the gamers.

Dock at home and at work and sync to your storage remotely. Fuck yeah.

I'm really hoping the Sony NGP will be usable as a cellphone through Google Voice or Skype. I'd ditch my cellphone for that, if the data connection speed and quality and data pricing plans are in line with my budget.

No bleeping way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353784)

If I have a PC or a laptop, I can put any operating system I want on it. Not so with Motorola's products. At least one of Motorola's phones quits working if you try to run anything but Motorola's OS on it.

My PC/laptop is not an appliance. I use it to do work. If I run Ubuntu, I know I can trust what comes from the repository. Android is a security nightmare.

I will not be replacing my PCs/laptops with an Android device any time soon.

Name too similar ... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35353848)

At first I thought it said "Altrix", which reminded me of the SGI Altix [gstatic.com] that I use at work. Now if they had reduced that to something resembling portable (or even something resembling what I would want for my next PC), I'd be impressed!

sure it can, but! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35353874)

It is not a question of mobile becoming more powerful. Is the ability to run firefox browser alone enough to be proclaimed a PC? I am a developer and a researcher. I install (and uninstall) softwares day in and day out. Softwares to write code, softwares that act as servers, softwares that produce something that I want to produce. In theory Android and other mobile can do that, but can they do a to the extent a PC does now? So the question really is can it become mainstream? can it load mainstream applications and behave like desktop? If yes, then yeah it can replace the PC. But again, when there was DEC VAX and VMS machines, PC was the mobile equivalent at that time, I love this concept of Atrix though. In future, I don't probably need to dedicate an entire corner for my PC all I need is a display at home and I can carry my PC and plug it in when I am home.

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