Motorola's Atrix 4G smartphone is coming early, according to its proud carrier AT&T.
Two weeks after AT&T said it would begin selling the Atrix 4G smartphone March 6 for $199.99 with a two-year contract, the carrier Feb. 17 said it would start in-store sales for the Android 2.2 smartphone on Feb. 22.
AT&T told eWEEK that customers who have preordered the device to have it shipped to their homes or offices could receive it as early as Feb. 21. Customers who opted to have a preordered Atrix 4G sent to a local store will also be able to pick up their phone that day.
The move is a pleasant surprise for customers who ordered the Atrix 4G in a pre-sale starting Feb. 13, expecting to get the gadget in the first week of March. However, AT&T did say the device could arrive sooner, so the surprise should hardly be a shock.
Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha unveiled the Atrix 4G at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 5. The device is powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor with a 4-inch qHD (quarter high-definition) screen.
The handset also comes with front- and rear-facing cameras to enable video chat and GB of RAM. The device on its own was attractive, but it can also be connected via docking stations to a desktop or laptop computer to render the phone's functionality on the larger screen.
Once their Atrix 4G is connected to a computer via the Motorola HD Multimedia Dock or Laptop Dock, users access their smartphone's content and features via a Linux-based Webtop application running on Mozilla's Firefox Web browser.
Citrix offers three demonstrations of the Atrix 4G.
Customers may get the Atrix 4G and Motorola Laptop Dock for $499.99 after a two-year service contract and a $100 mail-in rebate after subscription to a Data Pro smartphone data plan and a tethering add-on. The Motorola HD Multimedia Dock will cost $189.99
The Atrix 4G will also include for $20 per month AT&T's Mobile Hotspot service, allowing users to connect additional WiFi-enabled devices.
The Atrix 4G should see steep competition in the high-end smartphone arena from Verizon Wireless' iPhone 4, which launched Feb. 10, and the Motorola Droid Bionic in the second quarter.