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01:03 PM

Motorola Announces Android Flipout

Like Motorola's other Android-based phones, the mid-market Flipout is expected to take marketshare from feature phones.

Motorola Flipout Smartphone
(click image for larger view)
Motorola Flipout Smartphone
Motorola on Wednesday released the Flipout, a compact Android 2.1-based, square-shaped smartphone that in its form factor is a departure from other mobile phones.

The Flipout, has a pivot design that opens to reveal a five-row QWERTY keypad with a separate row for numeric keys. said Chris Hazelton, an analyst with the 451 Group likens the Flipout to AT&T's Backflip from Motorola, which he says both have non-conventional form factors that won't resonate with everybody.

"It definitely is different; it mirrors the Nokia Twist, a square phone that twists up with the traditional form factor with the keyboard below the screen,'' said Hazelton, adding that this is the first time Motorola has offered a square-shaped phone. The difference, he said, is that the Twist is more of a feature phone and "not as capable as the Flipout, which can also access the Android marketplace for apps."

But like Motorola's other Android-based phones, the Flipout will take marketshare from feature phones, Hazelton said. Both Motorola and HTC have put software on top of the Android, which differentiates their phones and makes them useful for their target audience, which is the social networker.

"It's interesting that no U.S. carriers picked up the phone," Hazelton noted, an indication that they may want to keep the Android for higher-end devices, while the Flipout is a mid-market device. He predicted Android phones will move into the midmarket in the next year.

Motoblur, a Motorola service that syncs friends, emails, messages, photos and various social media feeds has been updated in the Flipout to allow users to take control of their happenings and messages with built-in widgets that provide the option to filter out updates and messages they don't want.

Motoblur backs up contacts, log-in information, home screen customizations and email automatically and provides remote data wipe for lost or stolen devices. It also has new features for battery management to control the device's power consumption and data management to control data usage, as well as integration with GPS.

The Motorola Flipout includes seven screens and has multi-touch support including pinch to zoom for full Google and Web services. For corporate users, the latest version of Motoblur pushes email and provides access to their work directory.

Additional features include a 3 megapixel camera with digital zoom, Kodak Perfect Touch technology, gallery mode for tagging and labeling photos, instant upload access to sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Picasa and Photobucket. It also has video capture, playback and streaming options along with Bluetooth capabilities for wireless calls and music.

The Flipout will launch in Europe in the second quarter. Pricing information was not disclosed.

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