Motorola: All Future High-End Smartphones Will Work With Docking Station

Are we seeing the next big (or even small) trend in mobile technology? Motorola recently shook up the space with their Atrix 4G, an AT&T smartphone that did something that no other smartphone had done before. Rather than shipping by its lonesome, the Atrix 4G shipped with an optional docking station, which is really a brain-less netbook shell. Pop the Atrix 4G into the dock slot, and suddenly you've got an Android-powered computer. What's funny is that this is history repeating itself all over again, but the timing may be better now. Palm's Foleo was similar to this, and it was spiked before ever coming to market. Celio's REDFLY was also similar, but sales were evidently lackluster.

But now, mobility is king, and not only that, but mobile chipsets are vastly more powerful than in years past. Only time will tell if the Atrix 4G dock will be a hot seller, but it's already looking like that may be the case. Moto has just confirmed that all of their future high-end smartphones will pair with a dock using the Webtop OS overlay, allowing them to quickly be converted into a "computer" at a moment's notice. The company's CEO was responsible for spilling the beans; here's Sanjay Jha's exact quote: "You will see this across our portfolio of high-tier smartphones. What we're trying to do is recognize that the smartphone really works extremely well for 80 percent of the time but sometimes you need a bigger display and a larger keyboard."

He's right. Every so often the smartphone just feels cramped, and there are definitely times where a larger screen and keyboard would come in handy. But we still aren't convinced that a smartphone docking station is the easiest way to do it. Tablets are already thin and work on their own; netbooks are tiny and use a full-scale desktop OS. Will people actually flock to yet another mobility option? Many have tried and failed; we guess it's time to see if Motorola struck when the iron was hot.