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Is the Motorola Atrix a computing game changer?

Motorola Atrix laptop dockOf all the smartphones announced at CES, the Motorola Atrix could have the potential to be a truly game changing device…but not for the most obvious reasons.

Like its newly announced competitors the Atrix sports a dual-core processor, 1080p video playback and a slick form factor. Where the Motorola Atrix stands out though is its integrated Citrix thin client software and built in apps that turn the Atrix into a computer when docked.

Motorola Atrix laptop dock 2What do I mean by docked? There are two Motorola dock accessories for the Atrix. One is a desktop dock with three USB ports, one HDMI port and a charging port. This allows the Atrix to connect to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

The second accessory is a dumb laptop that has a built-in dock behind the screen. When the Atrix is docked in the dumb laptop, it acts as the brain for the laptop and the same desktop apps become available for use.

What are these apps? Most importantly there’s a Firefox browser with full Flash capability, and since the Atrix is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform Flash works really well. There’s also a built-in Citrix app for using the Atrix as a thin client for virtual Windows 7 desktop environments. This is similar to the Citrix Nirvana concept from a while ago, but this time it’s a production device in the hands of real users.

Motorola Atrix desktop dockSince the Atrix connects via HSPA+, the Atrix in connection with the laptop accessory or desktop dock could be a perfect traveling companion for mobile folks who want a lightweight always-connected experience. Plus, since the Atrix can be expanded to 48GB of internal storage, it has enough capacity to store significant amounts of local media and files too.

The docking experience was seamless when I tried it out. When docked, the Atrix switched to show its desktop apps view on the external screen. The phone’s mobile view is also available as a window floating over the desktop windows, which shows text messages and other phone events.

The browsing experience was good, although pages did load a little slowly since AT&T’s coverage within the Motorola booth was weak. Once a page loaded however, scrolling worked fine and there’s a full screen mode as well.

I’m really excited about the Atrix, it’s the thin client I’ve been waiting for ever since I saw the Citrix Nirvana concept device. It will be interesting to see if the Enterprise adopts the Atrix for mobile staff. It would seem to be a perfect companion to a virtualized workplace where users carry the laptop accessory when traveling and dock the Atrix into the desktop dock in the office.

Neil Berman

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Jan 7, 2011 Posted by | Analysis, CES, Mobile | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Traveling without a laptop is Citrix’s Nirvana

Laptops are a great invention, but aren’t we just always looking for something a bit more handy? Like perhaps freeing up a hand by carrying a computer in your pocket instead of in a laptop bag? Well Citrix and OK Labs have been making some noise about their Nirvana project recently which aims to do exactly that.

In a world where desktops are done and smartphones are encroaching upon laptops, Nirvana turns the smartphone paradigm into a go-anywhere conduit for a Xen virtual desktop. What does this mean?

Citrix’s Xen Desktop allows a client to run a virtual desktop with full Windows functionality, which actually resides on a remote server. The client is normally a thin client, laptop or desktop but with Nirvana the client is a pocket smartphone. When you want to work, just sit at a screen and plug in. How cool is that! Continue reading…

Feb 3, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Computing, Hardware, Mobile | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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