Making Tracks for Motorola ATRIX 4G

by Peter_vdL Motorola 03-30-2011 10:58 AM - edited 03-30-2011 02:52 PM

Arrived at work very early today, to prepare for an important webinar.  The webinar was offered through the AT&T Developer Program, under the title "Developing Android and Web Apps for the Motorola ATRIX 4G".   I really did not want to be late for this, since I was one of the presenters, and I hate it when they start without me.


As I checked the webcasting equipment in the studio, I glanced out of the window, towards the building site across the street.  They've been demolishing some old manufacturing sheds there for months, and breaking up the concrete for recycling.  As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by tracked vehicles of all types. Imagine my excitement to find that a wholly new type of bulldozer had arrived on site!


                                     A new type of bulldozer had arrived on site - a Caterpillar D6 medium tractor!


The webinar was to begin shortly, but I could not help myself.  I ran out of the building, across the street, and took dozens of pictures of the bulldozer with my ATRIX phone.  The ATRIX 4G has two cameras (an enabler for video chat, which, conveniently, works nicely with 4G data service).  The ATRIX's outward facing camera is a 5 MP model.  By doing a "reverse pinch" gesture in the Gallery app, I could expand a picture to full size, and zoom in on any part of the bulldozer.


The pictures showed great detail on the ATRIX hi-res 240dpi display.  The elevated drive sprocket unambiguously identified this as a Caterpillar product.  Caterpillar pioneered the elevated sprocket design, which relocates the drive sprockets higher, removing them from the track frames.  That makes the 'dozer transmission more modular, and that in turn simplifies maintenance.   Bulldozer jockeys love the expression "brought back to earth" (it's an inside joke), and on this occasion I was "brought back to earth" by my phone going off.  It was the AT&T Developer Program coordinator checking if everyone was ready. 


Everyone was ready.  My co-presenter, Greg, started the webinar, and presented the ATRIX 4G hardware.  You can find the specifications for most Motorola mobile devices at the website, and the full ATRIX specs are here.  After that, we explained several other ATRIX features, and described what they mean for software developers:


  • the lapdock accessory (a keyboard/screen into which you dock your ATRIX for improved usability, and which supports a full desktop, not mobile, browser).
  • the HD Multimedia dock (with USB ports, HDMI out, a headphone jack, and a remote control unit)
  • the use of the HDMI status API to detect when connected to an HD screen
  • operating the front-facing camera by software (with some neat code that can be used on devices with and without this camera - take a look at this educational code).
  • why the Tegra 2 hardware is called a "system-on-a-chip" and the remarkable CPU/graphics power it provides
  • the HTML5 support that you can count on in the desktop browser.


The ATRIX 4G is a product that is even more innovative than, yes, a bulldozer with elevated sprockets.  You can find our presentation online here (appearing in a day or two, and you'll need to complete a free registration at the site).  I'd encourage you to read all about the ATRIX webtop application, which is unique to this phone, and a real opportunity for web app developers.  If you can't wait for the recording of the presentation, there is more about the webtop application here on the MOTODEV website.  Cheers everyone, hope you didn't "doze off" reading this blog.


Peter van der Linden

Android Technology Evangelist


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