AT&T (s t) will exclusively offer the Motorola Atrix HD when the Android 4.0 smartphone launches on July 15. The LTE handset will cost $99 with a new two-year contract and will fall back to AT&T’s HSPA+ network in areas without LTE coverage. Motorola touts the Atrix HD as slimmer, smarter and stronger than the prior Atrix models.
At first glance, the Atrix HD appears similar to Motorola’s(s GOOG) popular Razr line of Android devices, although at 8.4 millimeters, it’s slightly thicker than Motorola’s thinnest phone. Many of the device’s hardware features are similar too: An 8 megapixel camera with digital zoom and 1080p video capture, support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and a 1780 mAh battery.
But as its name implies, the Atrix HD offers a higher-resolution screen: 1280 x 720 on a 4.5-inch display versus 960 x 540 on the Razr’s 4.3-inch screen. Motorola says the new screen uses ColorBoost technology as well. Additionally, the phone uses a Kevlar back and nano-coating to protect both the inside and outside of the Atrix HD from water damage.
Likely due to the LTE support, Motorola chose a Qualcomm (s qcom) dual core 1.5 GHz processor paired with 1 gigabyte of RAM to power Android 4.0 on the Atrix HD. Internal storage is limited to 8 GB — with a scant 4.7 GB user accessible — but the Atrix HD offers a microSD memory expansion slot capable of adding another 32 GB of capacity.
It’s likely that much of the internal memory is used up by Motorola’s add-on software features. Drive Smart is a vehicle mode that activates when the Atrix HD is placed in an optional car dock — free with the phone for a limited time — to read texts aloud, auto-reply to incoming calls or texts and offer voice navigation. A new Circle Widget shows billing information from AT&T, notifications, battery information and weather data. And Smart Actions can improve battery life dynamically during the course of a day.
Noticeably absent from Motorola’s announcement is any mention of LapDock accessories that allow the phone to dock with an external laptop shell — options that were available on the prior Atrix models. I wonder if Motorola accidentally left that information out of its press release and phone specs or if instead this is a sign that the LapDock solution hasn’t really taken off.