Motorola unveiled this phone at this year’s CES. It has very impressive hardware and a great feature set to back it up, but the best part about this smartphone by far, is its ability to be used as a desktop when plugged into a special netbook shell.

The netbook shell weighs 2.4 pounds and has an 11.6-inch screen. It doesn’t have any internal storage of its own because it completely boots from the Atrix 4G smartphone. When plugged into the shell, the smartphone also has the ability to charge via an HDMI plug and a micro-USB plug.

The idea behind this revolutionary step in smartphones, is to put the phone at the center of the user’s computing experience. All the data and applications that are stored on the phone are instantly transferred when the user plugs the phone into the shell. So you can run your smartphone using a desktop-like format if you feel like the screen is too small or for whatever other reason.

When tested, the netbook shell runs surprisingly fast off of the Atrix. The desktop environment seems to be some sort of Linux distribution.

The Android experience can also be accessed on the shell via a window in webtop mode. This way, you can run you Android applications alongside the desktop applications that come with the netbook shell.

Overall reviews of the netbook is pretty darn good. Some demoers complain a little about the slight indentation in each key, but that just takes adjusting to.

Some specs:

  • Dual-core Tegra 2 processor
  • 1GB of ram
  • 16 GB of internal storage
  • 5 MP rear camera with LED flash
  • Front-facing VGA camera
  • Fingerprint reader for security
  • 4-inch display with 960×540 resolution
  • Android 2.2 (no news about an upgrade to Honeycomb)

Hands-on: Motorola’s Atrix Android phone leads secret double life as a netbook