Hey AT&T: Stop yapping about 4G, start selling the Atrix

Bad news for Motorola: According to Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette, Motorola's Xoom tablet and Atrix 4G smartphone are failing to meet sales expectations.

The Xoom's slow sales, I can understand. The Verizon Wireless version is a pricey $799, while the (still somewhat pricey) $599 Wi-Fi model only launched last week. Reviewers noted that the software and the hardware felt incomplete. A slow launch should be a shock to no one.

But the Atrix? It's one of the most powerful smartphones on the market. Reviewers love it. And with a $200 price tag, there's no reason AT&T shouldn't be selling them by the truckload.

Unfortunately for Motorola, AT&T has been too busy hawking its 4G network, with commercials like these, instead of promoting the actual Atrix phone. That strategy was doomed from the beginning.

Wireless carriers' breathless marketing of 4G has already reduced the term to a meaningless pulp. Verizon's LTE, Sprint's WiMax, and the HSPA+ networks of AT&T and T-Mobile all qualify as 4G, so despite their differences in performance, the message to consumers is always the same: our network is super-fast. The term "4G" is played out even before the networks finish their expansion throughout the country.

Meanwhile, Motorola's not getting good support from AT&T. The Atrix commercials I've seen focus on the optional laptop dock, rather than the phone itself. While this was initially a huge selling point for the phone, AT&T deflated early enthusiasm with a $500 price tag for the dock and a mandatory tethering plan to use the dock on the carrier's network.

AT&T needs to give up on these strategies and start promoting the actual phone, in the way that Verizon successfully hyped the Droid. Faucette says AT&T's seeing stronger sales from the HTC Inspire 4G, which costs $100 on contract, and the $49 iPhone 3GS. That may be good enough for AT&T -- it's racking up smartphone subscribers just the same -- but neither is the flagship phone AT&T needs, now that it no longer exclusively has the iPhone.

I'm not concerned with the sales performances of AT&T or Motorola, but I do want AT&T to see high-end Android handsets as a worthwhile investment, because that translates to fiercer competition and better products for consumers. The Atrix was supposed to be the lead device in AT&T's portfolio. It pains me to hear that it might be a flop.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesMotorolatelecommunicationPhonesconsumer electronicsat&t

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?