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Motorola Backflip (photos)

At CES 2010, Motorola debuted its news Android smartphone, the Motorola Backflip. Check out CNET's hands-on photos here.

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Bonnie Cha

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1 of 6 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha

At CES 2010, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha introduced the company's latest Google Android device, the Motorola Backflip. The smartphone will launch in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America in early Q1 2010. Though Jha didn't reveal specific carriers, it's believed the Backflip will come to AT&T, which announced that it will offer five Android devices in the first half of 2010, including one from Motorola.
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Motorola Backflip with Motoblur

At first glance, the Motorola Backflip looks like a sleeker, sexier version of the Motorola Cliq. The phone measures 4.25 inches tall by 2.08 inches wide by 0.60 inch thick and weighs 4.7 ounces. On front, there's a 3.1-inch HVGA (320x480 pixels) touch screen that shows 256,000 colors. Though it's smaller than the Cliq's, we found it to be incredibly sharp and responsive. You get five customizable home screen panes and like the Cliq, the Backflip uses Motoblur software.
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Keyboard

Unlike the Cliq, which had a slider design, the Motorola Backflip opens up like a book. Interestingly, in its closed state, the QWERTY keyboard acts as the back of the phone and as such, the 5-megapixel camera and LED flash are embedded within the keyboard. Motorola said the keyboard is durable and sturdy enough to be on the outside of the phone, but we'd be interested to see the state of the keyboard after a long period of use.
As far as usability, we thought the buttons were a good size and provided enough tactile feedback. However, they are a bit flat so it wasn't quite as easy to type on as the Cliq, which has raised keys.
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Backtrack

One of the most unique things about the Motorola Backflip is a feature called Backtrack. Essentially, it's just a trackpad but it's located behind the display. When the phone is open, you can use the Backtrack to navigate through menus, scroll through home screens, flip through photos, etc. The idea is that without having to use the touch screen, you get an unobstructed view of Web pages, e-mails, news feeds, and the like. Though it works just as advertised, we found it quite awkward ergonomically but maybe we just need more time to get used to it?
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Top view

On top, you'll find the smartphone's 3.5mm headphone jack.
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Docking mode

Like the Motorola Droid, the Backflip offers a docking mode except you don't need to buy a multimedia dock accessory. Instead, you can simply place it on a table and it will display the time, weather, and alarm clock. You can also watch videos or a slide show.

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