Motorola is boosting the size and quality of the display for its’ next-generation Atrix 4G Android smartphone, headed to AT&T soon. The Verge got its hands on a prototype of the Atrix 2, dubbed Edison, which now features a curvier design, but still lacks the 4G LTE punch.
The features found on the Atrix 2 prototype are in line with most high-end Android devices currently found on the market. There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back with 1080p video capture and an LED flash, micro USB and HDMI ports, as well as 8GB of internal storage. The processor is 1GHz dual core, which is slightly behind devices such as the HTC Sensation XE, which runs on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
The stand out feature of the Edison prototype is the screen, compared to Motorola’s other 4G phones, the original Atrix and Bionic. The Atrix 2 unit pictured has a 4.3-inch qHD screen, slightly larger than the Atrix’s 4-inch display, but the same size and resolution (540 by 960 pixels) as the Bionic. Despite the similarities, the Atrix 2 screen looks much sharper, as Motorola removed the PenTile pixel arrangement, which displayer hatch patterns on solid shades of gray.
In their assault against the iPhone, Android handset manufactures have been pushing for larger displays in their smartphones in the past year, with most high-end devices sporting screens of 4-inches upwards. Despite the extra screen real estate, resolutions for these screens still don’t match the iPhone 4’s Retina Display. However, Apple is believed to soon follow the larger screen trend as well, as rumors suggest the iPhone 5 will feature a larger display too (currently 3.5-inch).
Not So Fast
What the Atrix 2 doesn’t seem to have is access to AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Instead, the prototype connected to the AT&T HSPA+ network, which is slower than LTE, but shouldn’t take the huge toll 4G LTE takes on battery life. Boy Genius Report initially mentioned the lack of LTE on the Edison earlier this week, when several images of the prototype surfaced. This year, AT&T said it would have 4G LT3 coverage only in five U.S. cities, so the lack of LTE support on the Atrix 2 shouldn’t be a deal breaker, considering neither the iPhone 5 is expected to support LTE.
The Atrix 2 seems like a solid addition to Motorola’s line-up of high-end 4G Android devices, but the phone itself does not bring anything groundbreaking to the game, besides a larger, improved display and curvier shape. It’s unclear when this phone would make it to consumer hands either, but if the software version on the prototype (2.3.5) is any indication, it should arrive before the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update, expected in October or November.