Smartphones like Motorola Atrix can replace corporate desktops

AT&T's Ralph de la Vega says he is heartened by the early enterprise interest in Motorola's Atrix phone, which doubles as a laptop. Larry Dignan discusses why de la Vega's argument is notable.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on the ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Motorola's Atrix may be viewed as a PC replacement for select enterprises, according to Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's president and CEO of mobility and consumer markets.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications conference, de la Vega said he was heartened by the early enterprise interest in Motorola's Atrix phone, which doubles as a laptop.

De la Vega said:

The Atrix is a great model to highlight how we can take something to market getting customer input. I took that device to our CIO Forum several months before it was ready for prime time. And our team showed at the CIOs and asked CIOs, what do you want for this device to replace your desktop PC? So these are CIOs whose eyes lit up as soon as they saw the device, the price, and the fact they only had to buy one smart device, not two, for their workforce.

One of the things they said that absolutely they needed to have, which was a surprise to us, was they wanted a Citrix client on the device. The Atrix from the outset has a Citrix client built in. So what that allows a CIO is to replicate a Windows or emulate a Windows 7 PC desktop on the Atrix, which no smartphone has ever done in its history.

The Atrix solve(s) a real, legitimate business problem that many enterprises have. And so far, the reception has been unbelievable. And so we are getting great reception on the enterprise space.

That argument is notable because de la Vega seems to think that dual core smartphones can be desktop replacements for some businesses. "I think the capability to take these smartphones and become a replacement for the desktop in some cases is very real," he said.

Now we've heard the argument that tablets are desktop replacements, but the market will really get interesting if smartphones do the same.