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Motorola Atrix DockMotorola’s Atrix 4G was one of our favorite devices from the Consumer Electronics Show, primarily because it had the cool ability to turn into a full-fledged ultraportable laptop when plugged into its Laptop Dock. So it’s impressive just how quickly AT&T has managed to quash my excitement for the device with the announcement of its crazy Laptop Dock pricing.

If you want the Atrix 4G’s Laptop Dock, you can either pay $499.99 to buy it bundled with the phone, or the same $499.99 to get the dock separately.

Yes, you read that right — the dock will cost the same as an iPad, even though it relies mostly on the Atrix’s hardware to function (it’s basically just a keyboard and screen shell that gets powered up by the phone). While the dock does feature a battery of its own, that’s still little reason to price it the same as a full-fledged computer.

AT&T is also forcing users to sign up for its tethering plan at $20 a month, if they want to get the Atrix bundled with the Laptop Dock. I suppose it makes sense since the dock relies on the Atrix’s network connection, but it still seems ridiculous for AT&T to demand even more money when the dock itself is overpriced.

The Atrix 4G will retail $199.99 with a two-year contract on its own, and AT&T says that preorders will begin on February 13. The phone, along with its accessories, will be available on “March 6 or earlier.”

The dock pricing is a shame, because Motorola could have really had a hit on its hands if it were priced more competitively. I was personally expecting it to be around $200 or $300, which would make it a viable option for students and other users who want a tiny ultraportable or netbook.

Check out VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi’s hands on with the Atrix at CES below:

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