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Motorola Backflip: Hands-on with the flipped-out Android phone

The Motorola Backflip is an acrobatic Android phone, turned inside-out and every which way. We tied ourselves in knots to try it out

Flippin' 'eck, as Winston Churchill once said. Here at CES, we've got our hands on the Motorola Backflip, an acrobatic, inside-out Android phone. But does it have us doing cartwheels or is it more bad flop than Backflip?

The Backflip is a mutant version of the Motorola Dext, turned inside out and every which way. It packs a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A processor, Wi-Fi, 3G and Android 1.5, running on Motorola's own Motoblur system. The display is a 76mm (3-inch), 320x480-pixel capacitive touchscreen, and there's a 5-megapixel camera in there too.

Because of the way the Backflip opens, the keyboard is always on the outside. That kind of defeats the point of folding phones, but it's up to you whether you prefer opening your phone or unlocking a keyboard when you want to use it. You also have to get used to having the keyboard on the outside when you're holding it up to your ear. The keyboard is extra-tough to stand up to the extra pocket action, with large, undulating keys.

That's not the only way to control the phone, as there's a touch-sensitive 'backtrack' pad on the reverse of the screen. It's slightly weird at first, but we were scrolling and nosing around the Web in no time. Incidentally, the display handset we played with listed Star Trek cast member and CES attendee Brent Spiner in the address book. It figures that Data would love an Android phone.


The main purpose of the hinge is to stand the phone up for watching your media. It's cooler than a kickstand and easier than a dock, but this Craver is never going to be keen on watching films on a screen the size of a Kit Kat. We do like using the phone as a clock, however -- it makes for a perfect bedside alarm.