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Review: Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

Motorola includes the expected bevy of communications tools on the Atrix HD along with one important extra.

The Atrix ships with a new home screen application/widget called Drive Smart. Drive Smart is meant to prevent Atrix owners from using their device to check/send messages when behind the wheel. It behaves similar to Motorola's Smart Actions, and requires users to carefully manage and set up the feature using triggers such as GPS, and so on. It can be set to automatically turn on when the device notices it is traveling at a high rate of speed. When activated, it can send automatic text message call rejections, and it works with Bluetooth headsets and in-vehicle Bluetooth systems. I tried it out over the weekend and found it worked pretty well. When driving at slower speeds around my town (< 35MPH) it took a while to kick in, but as soon as I got on the highway and reached any speed over about 45MPH it was much quicker to activate.


Beyond that, everything else is stock. The SMS application remains simple yet powerful. Messages are threaded in a conversational style, and media (photos, video, audio) fall in-line with the text. The usual two Android email applications are also present. There's the generic email app for POP3/IMAP4 and Exchange, as well as the native Gmail application. Both offer the home screen swipe feature mentioned above in the menu section.

On the instant messaging side of the equation, the stock Google Talk application is on board for Google IM users, but Yahoo, AIM, and Windows Live aren't supported out of the box. You'll have to go fish in the Google Play Store. Facebook is pre-installed, but Twitter isn't; you'll have to download that yourself.

Other social apps/services on board include Google Latitude, Google+, and Google+ Messenger. Qik's video chat application is also on board, which lets you conduct real-time, two-way video chats with other users of the Qik application. However, at this point, Google+ offers a much better video chatting experience that is free, and supports large group "Hangouts."


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