Here comes the fun

Once upon a time, years ago, Orange was the network to go to for powerful smartphones. Whether it was wacky Orange-branded SPV phones made by HTC, usually packing Windows Mobile; or innovative phones like the Siemens SL45, the first British phone to run Java apps, the trendy fruity network seemed like the place to be for cutting-edge hardware.

Then over the last couple of years, Orange's smartphone crown slipped a bit. A lot, we reckon. O2 got exclusives on the iPhone and the Palm Pre, and T-Mobile baggsied the first Android phone, the G1. For a time those who wanted the best kit on contract had to move elsewhere.

But now it looks like Orange might be getting in the saddle to regain its crown (we're making a metaphor omelette for breakfast, OK?). It's just announced that it'll be the first to release Motorola's Atrix, a new Android smartphone, in May. It'll be free on contracts of £35 a month or above.

And let us tell you, you are going to love the Atrix. It stole the show at the Consumer Electronics, er, Show in Las Vegas in January, with its iPhone-rivalling 960x540 screen, 1GHz processor and mighty 1GHz of RAM - that's double the memory as in an iPad 2, folks. You can smell the power! Waah, we want one.

But that's not all. Like a bizarro-world Superman who can also turn invisible, the Atrix combines raw power with a special trick - it's also a laptop. 'Wuh?!' we hear you cry. Well, purchase the Atrix with its special laptop dock - which Orange will be selling, though we don't know for how much - and when you plug it in you get a weird linux-y browser-y desktop mode, which doesn't look very useful but looks super-fun.

Still, if you don't like the sound of the Atrix, May will also bring the HTC Desire S, another powerful Android phone; the Samsung Galaxy Ace, a mid-range 'droid; and a little phone you might have heard of called the Xperia Play, also known as the 'PlayStation Phone'.

Welcome back to the game, Orange. You've been missed.

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