Motorola to Release More Atrix-Style Docks

Motorola will release more smartphone/laptop-dock combo devices like the Atrix, expanding a new product category that could compete with tablets.

“You will see multiple devices from us in the second half and we will expand the range of our lap-dock devices so we cover a broader pricepoint, addressing both enterprise tiers as well as more consumer tiers,” said Sanjay Jha, Motorola’s chief executive.

The Atrix concept, in which a smartphone slots into a netbook-like dock, providing the computing power but taking advantage of the dock’s larger screen and keyboard, was greeted with excitement when it was unveiled in January. But it subsequently failed to storm the market, probably owing to the relatively high cost of the dock accessory and sluggish performance compared to most netbooks and tablets.

The model itself still holds promise though, especially for those who are put off by tablets’ keyboardless nature. It also solves the problem of keeping information synced between mobile devices.

The lackluster performance of Motorola’s first-generation effort could easily be countered by faster, multi-core processors and a more streamlined platform.

Atrix-like devices are “an alternative way of viewing the convergence between mobility and computing,” said Jha. “And we will continue to focus on that.”

Although a docked Atrix does fit into the same limbo between a phone and a full-sized laptop that tablets occupy, it may actually prove to be a whole new category that doesn’t overlap much with tablets. Tablets are more about consuming content, while the laptop form-factor’s strength is content creation: writing e-mails, for example.

Motorola’s new Droid Incredible also just began shipping for Verizon.

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