Owning up to your mistakes in the mobile technology business is something no company wants to do. But sometimes it just has to be done. Such is the case with the Motorola Atrix and the ill-received webtop dock that came along with it.
Before the Atrix came out, it was hailed as some sort of sign AT&T was finally jumping on the Android bandwagon. The Atrix had specs like no other device before it, and the webtop dock looked simply amazing. Then it actually came out. While sales were less than stunning for Motorola’s early 2011 flagship device, the webtop dock was on a whole different level of bad. The price was so high and the hardware so lackluster, sales of Motorola’s first attempt at a laptop dock were almost nonexistent. To this day, the Atrix’s webtop dock costs $500 on Amazon. Not all hope for the webtop dock is gone though. During a recent earnings call with Sanjay Jha, the beans were spilled on how Motorola feels about the first webtop dock: They messed up.
Of course it’s not as cut and dry as that, but Motorola knows it was too expensive and that one model didn’t fit everyone’s needs. In order for the project to work, they’ll have to change that. How you ask? By releasing not one, but two new models of webtop docks for future devices:
... I could start by saying we continued to do a lot of consumer testing of our webtop capability and we do the testing in enterprise. In both places, we see a lot of interest but believe it or not, the traction is actually greater for the webtop capabilities with the enterprise than it is with consumers. And what you will see us do is actually recognize that the pricing of our initial devices were little higher and you will see us introduce two tiers of laptops, lap docks rather. One in the lower tier to address the consumer needs and another higher tier to address the enterprise needs which the customers there are little less sensitive to pricing and much more careful about the capabilities that they receive.Sanjay JhaMotorola
In theory, two tiers of webtop dock would work out great. Both will have better trackpads and a better keyboard. Build quality should also be improved. But it’s ultimately going to come down to one thing: price. If Motorola can’t find the sweet spot and get the new docks down cheap enough, they’ll undoubtedly meet the same fate their older sibling has–regardless of how much better the trackpad is.
While we’re on the subject, where is that sweet spot? Would a new $249 dock place one in your briefcase? Or are you looking to spend something closer to $99? With the Bionic slated to land this September, you can expect to see the new webtop docks around that time as well. Until then, I hope Moto’s listening. This may just be their last shot.