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CES 2010: Motorola Launches New Backflip Android Smartphone

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Motorola may not have done enough to right all the wrongs of recent years, but its Dext and Droid (Milestone in Europe) Android smartphones have shown significant progress. That said, there's a fine line between genius and madness...
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The company used CES to announce the latest addition to its Android line-up in the shape of the 'Backflip' and what a strange shape it is. A Qwerty slider with a difference, the Backflip is double hinged so it can either swing open the keyboard to a traditional typing position or bend it backwards so it can sit up like a bedside alarm clock. Further adding to the quirk is a touchpad positioned on the back of the screen so you can navigate menus without either using the keys or dirtying the display.
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How did it work? Well it's certainly different. Build quality is pretty good and the Backflip feels robust in each of its three main positions (folded away candybar, Qwerty typing experience and alarm clock) and the rear touchpad is responsive. That said I can't help but think this is a somewhat over complicated solution to something that isn't really a problem in the first place.
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Still, if you are wooed by the Backflip's unique charms then you won't be let down by the internals with Motorola having jammed in a 3.1in 320 x 480 resolution capacitive touchscreen (potentially with multi-touch in Europe it was explained to me), HSDPA, wireless b/g, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, a 5MP camera with autofocus and LED flash, accelerometer, 3.5mm headphone jack and 32GB compatible microSD slot. At 108 x 53 x 15.3mm and 133g you don't pay a significant bulk penalty either.

One downside is the Backflip will only ship with Android v1.5, though Motorola did confirm to me that it, and indeed its entire Android range, will then jump directly to v2.1 by early summer. I can't decide whether the Backflip is an inspired piece of design or glorious failure, but dear Motorola at least it is different and based on the last five years that's a start...

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