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Motorola announced plans for its third U.S.-market Android-based 3G phone, which it calls the Backflip because of its unusual “reverse QWERTY flip” design.
When the 7.2Mbps HSDPA phone is folded shut horizontally, a 3.1-inch OLED touchscreen appears on one side of the device, and a QWERTY keyboard appears on the reverse side. When unfolded, the QWERTY keyboard activates and rests below the touchscreen as if it were a traditional slider.
The reverse-flip design allows for a larger QWERTY keyboard, and it prevents the top row of keys from being partially blocked by an overhang, as happens with traditional sliders, Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha said during a press conference. The design also lets users place the phone horizontally on top of a table with its screen tilted up for viewing photos, videos and applications, a spokesman added.
When folded open, a behind-the-touchscreen touchpad, called the Back Track, lets users navigate Web sites and applications without touching the touchscreen and otherwise obstructing the view of content on the screen.
The company said it expects the Backflip to be available in the first quarter in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe. In North America, it appears headed for the AT&T network because its operates in 3G mode in AT&T's 850/1900MHz bands as well as in foreign 2.1GHz bands. It also features quadband EDGE for international roaming.
The phone operates on the Android 1.5 OS like Motorola's Cliq, available for the T-Mobile network, whereas the flagship Droid for the Verizon network uses the Android 2.0 OS and Google's Nexus One uses Android 2.1. Also like the Cliq, the Backflip features the company's Motoblur service, which aggregates and pushes all of a user's social-network, email and text messages to a single home screen for quick access.
Other Backflip features include Wi-Fi and 5-megapixel camera.
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