Motorola Flips for Android (Again) with Backflip
Motorola today at CES unveiled the Backflip, a new Android smartphone that features a reverse flip design so it opens like a book. Sporting an untraditional design, the Backflip's keyboard can be folded back behind the 3.1-inch touchscreen, which allows for a larger than usual keyboard. When folded back, users can prop it up on a table like a mini-display for viewing videos or for use as a picture frame or alarm clock. When closed, users can access a full QWERTY keyboard on the back. The Backflip also has a trackpad, which Motorola has dubbed Backtrack. The trackpad is on the back of the display of the open phone and lets users navigate the device menus, browse photos, scroll through e-mails and texts and perform other functions without obscuring the home screen. Motorola's latest Android handset will ship with version 1.5 of the mobile open source operating system -- though it's slated to be updated to 2.1 when released -- and will go on sale this quarter. No carriers were disclosed during the press event. Like its predecessor the Cliq, the Backflip runs MotoBlur, the company's user interface that streamlines content from social networking sites, e-mail accounts and contact lists and automatically displays them on the homescreen.
"Since introducing our first Motoblur-based device, we've remained focused on differentiating the Android experience and bringing it to new carrier partners around the globe," Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of Motorola Mobile Devices, said in a statement. "Backflip maximizes the multitasking and multifunctional potential of Motoblur with its unique design elements, making it as smart as it is social." Other key specs of the quad-band GSM phone include a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 2GB of internal storage that can be increased to 32 GB. It uses an HTML browser. The news of Motorola's Backflip comes on the heels of a transformative year for the mobile maverick, which had been suffering from sagging sales due to a lack of compelling handset releases as Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerrys dominated the market. Now, Motorola, behind Jha's leadership, is back in the game, as it introduced several new Android smartphones in late 2009 -- the Cliq and Droid -- that are generating buzz -- and sales.