When the Motorola Atrix was first unveiled at CES 2011, the phrase "computer killer" instantly leapt back into the industry vernacular. The Atrix's dual-core processor and gig of RAM make it as-or-more powerful than pretty much any tablet or netbook. Moto announced that the Atrix would launch with an optional laptop dock in order to take advantage of this fact.
The dock wasn't expected to be very expensive- our first leaked price was just $150. Equivalent netbooks generally hover at around $300, and the Atrix dock is nothing but an 11.6" display, battery, keyboard and speakers. You wouldn't expect it to cost much.
But AT&T's new press release revealed just the opposite. While the Atrix 4G alone will be the standard $199 with a two-year contract, the dock will cost $499 on its own. If you buy it bundled with the Atrix, you'll have to pay $599 (with a $100 rebate) for the phone, laptop dock, and subscription to the Data Pro plan with the tethering add-on. Ouch.
While it is true that most users don't need the power of a full desktop, tablets lack a keyboard and netbooks have tiny displays. By bundling a large-screen browsing / typing/media solution with a mobile communications device, the Atrix dock is a solution that must be attractive to many users. But that high price is going to make it a tougher sell. While $600 isn't bad for both a phone and a large-display netbook, it is high enough that customers will be also be eyeing the premium tablets and high-end laptops.
The Atrix is also accompanied by an optional Motorola HD Multimedia dock, Bluetooth keyboard, mouse and remote control for $189.99. AT&T expects it to hit customers and retail establishments by March 6- if not a little earlier.