The Motorola Atrix 4G Webtop is an intriguing system that lets you use an Android smartphone as the brains of a thin and light laptop. The Atrix 4G is a smartphone with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor, while the Webtop is essentially a docking station in the form of an ultralight 11.6 inch laptop.

Alone, the Webtop is pretty much useless. But if you drop the Atrix 4G phone into a dock in the back, the notebook springs to life, letting you access apps on your phone on a larger screen, or even make phone calls. There are also custom apps that can only be run on the Webtop such as a version of the Firefox web browser that’s been optimized for ARM-based chips.

The Webtop is actually running its own Linux-based operating system which interacts with Android, rather than simply mirroring the Android UI on the big screen. This allowed Motorola to design a user interface that makes more sense on a laptop-style device, complete with a dock-style application launcher on the bottom of the display.

The only thing that really worries me about the concept is the placement of the dock. While the phone seems to lock into place pretty firmly, I’d be scared to move if I had this contraption on my lap, for fear that the phone would fall off and hit the floor.

Update: While the Motorola rep I spoke with cautioned against turning the unit upside-down, lest the phone should fall out, the folks at Engadget found a braver rep who was willing to demonstrate just how strong the locking mechanism is by flipping the webtop over. The phone stayed in place. So that’s good news.

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9 replies on “Closer look at the Motorola Atrix 4G Webtop”

  1. Engadget has a video of someone turning the whole setup upside down while the phone was docked. It was locked in tight.

  2. I remember seeing a mock up some time ago of a similar idea for the iPhone. The clever thing was that where the touch pad would normally be (in front of the keyboard) there was a cutout into which slotted the iPhone face up perfectly. You then used the glass surface of the phone which was flush with the laptop base surface as the touch pad. I though it was brilliant and it avoids the awkward placing of the mobile in the dock shown here.

    I doubt this is actually possible with iPhone due to Apple’s restrictions but for an Android device it could presumably work.

  3. I’m wondering if this will be available for more then just the atrrix say a Droid Bionic? would be nice and make my decision to by a netbook for class obsolete.

  4. hopefully not the final product … as design study acceptable, otherwyse not

  5. This should be awesome – the Palm Folio totally took off too, right?

  6. I agree on the place of the mobile.
    11.6 is nice during commuting.

    One will have to duct tape it not to fear fall or robbery


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