An update to Motorola's A760, the A780 is equal parts PDA and mobile. This flip phone has a large color touch screen, includes Bluetooth wireless, runs a version of the Linux operating system, and works with a long list of business applications. But it's also a quad-band world phone (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) that's compatible with EDGE technology for faster download speeds. Though targeted at business users, the redesigned Motorola A780 has a fun side too, with a built-in camera and MP3 player.
Upside: The A780 offers plenty of features for both work and play. The included Motosync software keeps you connected to the office with corporate e-mail, contacts, and calendar synchronization. You can view (but not edit) Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files. Other applications include a browser; e-mail; text and multimedia messaging; an MP3 player that supports WMA, AAC, and Real formats, among others; and a 1.3-megapixel camera that can also capture video. Finally, the new design looks great, and the flip cover protects the 240x320 touch screen.
Downside: Despite its extensive messaging features, the A780 doesn't have a keyboard, so it isn't a good choice for composing e-mail messages. Though it has an expansion slot, the handset relies on SanDisk's new, tiny TransFlash memory cards, which currently max out at 48MB--hardly enough for a device with a 1.3-megapixel camera and an MP3 player.
Outlook: Available sometime in Q4 (pricing and carriers have not been announced yet), the Motorola A780 is a niche product for highly mobile professionals. Whether it can compete with smart phones based on Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm, and Symbian operating systems will depend on the quality and quantity of Linux and Java applications available. Check back later for a full review, and to see more upcoming Motorola handsets, visit our line show.