I've been heavily anticipating the release of the Motorola Atrix. So much so, that I've been looking online for cases and accessories in anticipation of purchasing the Atrix. If you haven't seen it yet, you've gotta check it out.
Earlier on there were some rumored price points of $150 for the phone and $150 for the laptop dock. The most powerful smartphone to date, and priced right by a brand name, what awesome news for the Android platform. The multimedia dock appears to be priced at $59.95 or $99.95 with remote. I, personally didn't see a use for the laptop dock, especially because I have received a present from Google in the form of a CR48. However, the multimedia dock, interests me very much. I have an iPhone 4 and, while it isn't for everybody, I actually watch more shows on my phone than on the television (to be explained in a later post), either through Hulu Plus, NetFlix or podcasts on MediaFly. I would love to be able to plug my phone into a dock and get my shows up on the big screen.
The Official Statement
Now AT&T has apparently made an official statements that price the phone at $199. The laptop dock is to be priced at $500, standalone, or if you get the phone and laptop dock together, that will run you $500 (basically you get the phone), after $100 rebate AND you are required to sign up for the Data Pro AND tethering plans. The multimedia dock can be had in the multimedia bundle that comes with the dock, remote, Bluetooth keyboard and Bluetooth mouse for $189. Though the dock alone may still be available at cheaper prices elsewhere.
Although they probably have reasons for their pricing points, I think they are not only missing a great opportunity, but also may be setting themselves up for failure on several different fronts here. Let me attempt to break this down:
- The price point of the phone is fine $199 on contract is the going rate these days. I personally think they could have gotten away with $249 because of the increased specs. However, $500 for a laptop shell is absolutely ridiculous, at $149, it's questionable, but could be a "why not" type of purchase. With full featured laptops/netbooks available for the same price, what would be the upside to purchasing the shell, that you can't donate to your kids, friends or charity when you upgrade?
- Not really showing up in the equation anywhere else is the fact that Google is on the verge of hitting the market with ChromeOS laptops. These "nothing but net" laptops pretty much gives the user a web browser (Chrome). Which is what the Atrix Webtop provides, a browser (Firefox). Except the ChromeOS laptops are designed to be fast and really cheap, most likely sub $200 and possibly sub $100, though no official price points have been given yet. I'd opt for a ChromeOS laptop over a dock, being that I will be able to use my ChromeOS laptop even after I have switched phones.
- Much of the talk about the Atrix has been focused around the docking ability. Talk of the docks seem to over shadow the fact that, even without the docking ability, the Atrix will be the most powerful phone on the market. However, because of the heavy focus on the docks, it seems that the growing sentiment is that if the docks are so over priced, it doesn't make sense to purchase the phone. It'd be interested how sales will be, compared to the Motorola Bionic being released on Verizon. The Bionic has half the RAM of the Atrix but otherwise, besides minor differences in screen size and camera resolution, it's practically the same phone, without the focus on docking.
I do have some theories behind the pricing.
- Maybe the price point was reconsidered between the time the rumors started and now, based on the positive reactions it got from CES and everyone else across the internet.
- Maybe they have released they are rolling the dice and hoping it will sell out regardless of the price. I've sometimes been in the situation where I sold something and looked back and went, man, I could have made so much more money on that deal. Admittedly, it's a hard sell, but it might work for them.
- Maybe AT&T will reconsider based on the negative reaction of the general public... hah... it would be nice, but I doubt it.
In any case, it is still an awesome phone and I'm definitely picking one up, even without the dock. Stay tuned for the comparison between the Atrix and the iPhone, both initial and after a month.