While Motorola is doing a good job of getting back into our good books (mostly by following all my advice), it may need to watch it doesn't quickly dilute its product range.
The Motorola 'Quench' is the company's fifth Android handset in as many months and while it wasn't talking prices this looks one for the teens. Built around a 3.1in 320 x 480 pixel capacitive display, the Quench continues the good work of its predecessors with responsive operation and integrated multi-touch. Performance isn't quite up there with an old Qualcomm 528MHz processor, but no -one would call the Quench slow.
Hardware is pretty good too with HSDPA, WiFi, GPS, a 5MP camera with LED flash, accelerometer, 3.5mm jack and microSD expansion slot supporting 32GB cards. Where its budget roots do start to show through are native available storage of just 256MB, a video recording resolution of only 352 x 288 and a slightly more plasticy construction than the rest of Motorola's Android range.
The biggest teen tip-off? The Quench has removable covers and every handset with removable covers is targeting a youth 'fashion' market. The default back has a grippy, rubber feel to it, but I was told a range of colours will be made available at launch. Like all other Motorola Android smartphones, the Quench also features its Motoblur custom skin which promotes social networking and aggregates contacts from the usual array of Web 2.0 sites.
Now that word, possibly words, of warning. A Motorola rep reiterated to me that the company plans to launch 20 Android handsets this year so we could be getting an additional 17 over the next nine months. As popular as Android is right now that seems like overkill and I'd suggest you need no more than 5-6 models to reach each target market. More and you start to duplicate and undercut your own products (which is usually the practice reserved for Sony Ericsson).
Furthermore, nice as Motoblur is, Motorola needs to update it more frequently or risk its handsets lagging behind the competition. Noticeably the Quench will ship in March with Android v1.5 which is inexcusable given 1.6 is old news, 2.0 is starting to gather dust and 2.1 is already becoming commonplace. Motoblur does offer some advantages over the vanilla Android build, but not enough to miss out on the newer versions of Google's fast developing OS.
In related news I also snapped some live shots of Motorola's exciting MotoROI (above and below) which is every bit as impressive in the flesh as it is on the specs sheet and the interesting 'XT800' - also Android-based and wielding dual sims. Sadly the latter is only coming to the Far East, though the MotoROI is likely to go global - though possibly in a modified form.