17 months ago, the idea of a smartphone’s capabilities changed with the introduction of the Motorola Atrix 4G at CES, a premium device on AT&T’s “4G” HSPA+ network. The original device is one that holds a special place in my heart because it is the single smartphone that swooned me into the world of Android. Pegged as a revolutionary all-in-one device, the Atrix 4G included features like the Tegra 2 dual-core processor, fingerprint sensor and the WebTop accessory– which allowed owners to essentially eliminate the need for a laptop. Within the same year, Motorola introduced the Atrix 2, which boasted items like a TI-OMAP dual-core processor, 8MP camera and WebTop support that gave AT&T customers not one, but two appealing high-end Motorola devices to choose from in the 2011 calendar year. As appealing as the Atrix 4G and Atrix 2 have been, times change rather quickly and with the arrival of Spring 2012, both devices have quickly been surpassed by several high-end devices released in the last 3 or 4 months such as the resounding HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones. Each of those devices were released with immediate fanfare and success as they have again raised the bar for Android smartphones that feature incredible displays, impressive cameras and Android 4.0 among the noteworthy features. But what about Motorola? How can one of the world’s largest Android manufacturers sit idle and allow its competitors to literally snatch the dollars from consumers’ wallets?
Well, Motorola finally figured out it needed to get its act together and offer up a “modern” smartphone for 2012. Don’t forget Motorola’s strategy: it pledged to focus on the quality of existing devices— not bombard consumers with a ton of devices in a single calendar year. That’s a novel idea and all, but HTC and Samsung seemed to develop their now flagship devices months in advance, while Motorola seemed to sit and watch how everything unfolded and rely on the success of its existing phones like the Atrix series. Realizing it was quickly falling behind, Motorola saw the success of the DROID RAZR smartphone on Verizon’s network and came up with a new strategy for the Atrix line on AT&T’s network. Instead of developing a brand new smartphone, it looks like Motorola brought elements of the original DROID RAZR, but included up-to-date amenities such as a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, 720p display, an improved 8MP camera, 4G LTE radio and Android 4.0. So how does all this fare? Does Motorola’s new strategy result in an appealing option for AT&T customers? Read on to find out in this review. » Read the rest