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CES Diary: Bell to bring Motorola smartphone to Canada

Motorola has unveiled a new strategy in the smartphone wars: the dummy laptop.

The cellphone giant announced a new smartphone and series of docks at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Shortly afterward, Motorola Mobility Canada and Bell announced Bell Mobility will offer the Atrix here in Canada.

The Atrix, the first major announcement of the newly public Motorola mobile division, is designed to compete with high-end smart phones such as the iPhone and BlackBerrys. The phone has a 4-inch screen, a dual-core processor capable of delivering up to two GHz of processing speed, a gigabyte of RAM and a five-megapixel camera.

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But Motorola is attempting to differentiate its product by offering a "laptop dock."

The dock looks similar to a laptop (it is roughly the same size and weight as a Macbook Air). However, the device contains no electronics. Once the phone is plugged in, it powers the device, giving users the ability to use a larger screen and keyboard in a laptop-like environment. All data is stored entirely on the phone.

"It is, I think, a paradigm shift," said, Sanjay Jha, Motorola CEO. "This is a computer that fits in your pocket."

Mr. Jha would not say when the device will come to Canada, beyond "in the coming months." It will initially run version 2.2 of Google's Android operating system.

Motorola is also positioning the new device as a possible replacement for tablet computers. The company hopes the phone-dock combo will appeal to consumers looking to watch HD video on a bigger screen, and business users who want to manipulate files and e-mail attachments.

Mr. Jha did confirm, however, that Motorola intends to introduce multiple tablet models in the future. He would not give more details.

Aside from the laptop dock, Motorola also unveiled the Motorola HD Multimedia Dock, a device with three USB ports and an HDMI port. Users can use the docked phone with a USB keyboard, monitor, mouse or speakers or deliver video, music and games to an HDMI-enabled television.

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