It has taken some time for AT&T to warm to the Android OS, but the Backflip is just the first of a reported five handsets coming to the cell phone provider this year. The new Motorola handset does look like a decent start to the relationship for the companies, albeit with a very heavy focus on the social networking aspects of the mobile Web.
Featuring the Motoblur technology, the Backflip will deliver updates to your handsets via widgets for services such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gmail, Picasa, both work & personal e-mail accounts and Last.fm. The updates will appear directly on the home screen, and just by tapping on them you'll be able to launch into them to post new status messages, reply to messages you've received and more.
The physical form factor is where this phone really makes some advances. The hinged design has the screen on front and the full QWERTY keyboard on the back. You just clip the keyboard down, the keys light up and the 3.1-inch high-res, touch screen display goes into landscape mode for use. On the backside of the screen is a Motorola BackTrack touchpad that operates like the mouse pad on a laptop. You can flip screens with it, double tap to launch an application and so on. It might take some getting used to as you can't see it, but it appears to work pretty efficiently.
The phone features all of the usual bells and whistles you have come to expect from phones in this day and age such as a 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and so on. The GPS does have a nice bonus to it in that you can log in to your Motoblur online account if you aren't sure where you left your phone and track it (so long as it's charged one would presume), and if it's somewhere you aren't comfortable with it being, you can remotely wipe its data.
The Motorola Backflip will go on sale March 7th at AT&T stores and online for $99.99 after $100 mail-in rebate. (Pay $199.99 and after mail-in rebate receive $100 AT&T Promotion Card. Two-year agreement and smartphone data plan required.)
It does look like a pretty decent device … even if it does bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain phone from Apple while its keyboard is tucked away.