John Mahoney

Pop Motorola’s new Atrix 4G smartphone into its laptop-shell docking station, and like a lifeless corpse jolted with lightning, the laptop comes to life, giving you Motorola’s Webtop. It’s a desktop experience, powered by Android, including a file browser, HD media playback, and a full install of Firefox 4. All powered by the phone.

It’s pretty amazing, actually:

As you can see in this walkthrough, the interface is fairly snappy. This is made possible by the phone’s dual-core Tegra processor and a fairly crazy 1GB of onboard RAM.

Here we’re seeing the phone driving a 24″ monitor via the HDMI desktop dock. If you pop it out of that dock and into the laptop shell, the phone remembers all your window placements and settings and resumes just as you last left it.

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Especially snazzy is the integration of the phone. As you can see in the demo, phone numbers in the Firefox browser are linked, and when you click them, the phone app in the standard Android window can dial the number or add it as a contact. Awesome.

Through the USB slots on both the laptop and the desktop docks, you can plug in a hard disk or a thumb drive and access it via the file browser. Or start up the media player where any video or audio files are recognized and pulled in for playback (the phone’s screen shows a remote control interface when docked).

All that in a package that’s surprisingly svelte as a phone (I was expecting a monster):

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See the rest of PopSci’s live CES 2011 coverage [here