LAS VEGAS--On Wednesday, Motorola introduced its latest Google Android smartphone to the world, the Motorola Backflip. Scheduled for a global release at the beginning of Q1 2010, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said the device would be available in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and North America but would not disclose any carriers. Oh gee, it couldn't possibly be AT&T, which announced five upcoming Android smartphones, including one from Motorola, could it?
The Motorola Backflip is a quad-band GSM phone with support for the 850/1900/2100MHz 3G bands (coincidentally, AT&T's 3G bands), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The smartphone's design is really what sets it apart, however. At first glance, the Backflip looks like a sleeker, smaller version of the Motorola Cliq, but instead of a slider design, the phone opens up like a book. In addition, in its closed state, the full QWERTY keyboard is located on the back. For those concerned about durability, Motorola said the keyboard is strong enough to take a beating and keep on clicking, but of course, that remains to be seen.
Another unique feature of the Backflip is the trackpad, which Moto calls Backtrack, located on the back of the display (when the phone is open). It works just like a traditional trackpad, allowing you to navigate through menus, flip through photos, scroll through the home screen panes, and more. It's certainly an interesting twist, but we're not completely sold on it. You can also interact with the smartphone through the 3.1-inch HVGA touch screen.
Like the Motorola Cliq, the Backflip uses Motoblur software and though it will launch with Android 1.5, the smartphone will be upgradable to Android 2.1. Other highlights of the smartphone include a 5-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 2GB internal memory (expandable up to 32GB), and a full HTML browser.
You can view our hands-on photos of the Motorola Backflip below and get some of our first impressions of the device. There's a lot we like about it, and in fact, we liked the fresh take on design and software integration so much that we awarded the smartphone our Best of CES Award for the cell phone and smartphone category. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!