Motorola Atrix 4G: The next big thing to infiltrate the enterprise?

IT executives would be wise to take note of the Atrix for its clever way to merge smartphones with PCs.

AT&T will begin taking pre-orders for the Motorola Atrix 4G on Feb. 13 and it will arrive March 6. The Atrix is a device that will run Android 2.2 (Froyo) and with it the line between smartphones and personal computers will become a little blurrier.

Should the Atrix be the kind of success that Motorola is banking on, it could represent the next big wave of consumer devices to infiltrate the enterprise. The Atrix offers the ability to integrate its screen, applications and capabilities into a desktop computer via a docking station. While the concept of a handheld/smartphone docking to a PC isn't exactly new (remember the Palm Treo?) the Atrix is one powerful new phone and includes dual-core 1-GHz processors, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to up to 48GB via its microSD card slot. It's not just a smartphone, it's practically a server.

If this phone is a big success, you can bank on a wave of imitations to follow and a wave of requests to corporate IT to support the docking station with work PCs or notebooks. On the other hand, success is far from certain. The device is pricey. AT&T said on Thursday that it will offer the phone sans docking station for $200 and the docking station will cost an additional $300 with a two-year contract. The docking station, sold by itself, is priced at $500, so the bundle looks like a comparative bargain. Beware, though, users will need to buy AT&T's Data Pro Plus plan for two years, in order to actually use the docking station which falls under the "tethering" umbrella.

The device is also being faulted for the fact that it will run on Android 2.2 instead of 2.3, Gingerbread, released by Google in December.

But failure or not, IT executives should take some time to explore the device if they get a chance to lay their hands on one. With its high-powered CPU and tight integration with PCs, the docked smartphone could be a device that goes head-to-head with tablets as the next device for mobile employees.

Here's a look.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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