Well, well, well â€” Android is finally hitting AT&T. While not formally announced at CES 2010, it was safe to assume then that the Motorola Backflip would be arriving at AT&T as its first Android smartphone. The Backflip certainly isnâ€™t a top-of-the-line Nexus One or HTC Desire, but its presence on â€œBig Blueâ€ wonâ€™t go unnoticed. With its quirky form factor and UI, will the Backflip pose a threat to the iPhone 3GSâ€™s dominance on the carrier? Letâ€™s take a quick look at the specs and see:
Processor. First off, letâ€™s examine the processor. The iPhone 3GS currently clocks in at 600Mhz, while the Backflip comes slightly short at 528Mhz. That 72Mhz may not seem like an extravagant amount to you, but the Backflipâ€™s UI, MotoBlur, certainly needs all the processing power it can get. In my opinion, MotoBlur slows down the phone too much, to the point where scrolling through your home screens becomes difficult.
Memory. The next item on our agenda is the RAM and ROM. RAM (random access memory) is the amount of memory the phoneâ€™s programs have to use. ROM (read-only memory) is the memory that stores the key programs of the device, like those that boot the device. When it comes to a deviceâ€™s speed, processor and memory are key factors, and the Moto Backflip has 256 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM. While the Apple handset also has 256 MB RAM, its ROM is unknown. But 512 MB seems to be the industry standard, so its reasonable to assume the device is packing the same amount of memory, making the two handsets comparable.
Display. One thing we all crave is a nice, vibrant screen. Time and time again, the iPhone has proved itself to be the king of touchscreens. Specification-wise, it has a 3.5 inch size, 320 x 480 pixel resolution, capacitive multi touch, and an oleophobic coating (which helps prevent fingers from smudging the screen). The Backflip also has a capacitive display, but its a shrunken 3.1 inches. Like most Android devices, the Backflip also has no built-in multi touch. For iPhone users, this will be really noticeable â€” particularly in the web browser and photo gallery. In fact, this may be the deal breaker for many. As an iPod touch fanatic myself, I cannot begin to imagine a web-browsing experience without pinch-to-zoom and multi touch gestures.
Camera. The final comparison is that of the camera. The Backflip has a 5 MP autofocus camera, with an LED flash. The iPhone 3GS has a 3 MP autofocus camera, without any flash. But number of megapixels isnâ€™t always the best way to judge a camera. In terms of photo quality, Iâ€™m sure thereâ€™ll be plenty of side-by-side images taken by both handsets once the Android phone debuts. One thingâ€™s for sure thoughÂ â€”Â a camera flash has been a much-desired feature on the iPhone for years, if only just to enable night-time picture-taking. Both the Backflip and the 3GS have photo-sharing capabilities.
Other specs. In terms of other specs, there are some similarities between the devices: Theyâ€™re both 3G-enabled on AT&Tâ€™s network, and have an HTML web kitâ€“based browser. (For the iPhone, thatâ€™s Safari.) Neither of the phones currently support Flash content, which means you canâ€™t watch Hulu on either one. As for music, both devices have a multitude of audio formats, ranging anywhere from basic MP3 to ACC+. And they also have an e-compass and GPS. Both devices also have Wifi and Bluetooth, but the iPhone has the latest Bluetooth 2.1, while the Backflip has 2.0. Â As for differences, what may be the biggest one is the keyboard: The Backflip has a physical full QWERTY keyboard that flips out from the back (hence the name), while the iPhone only has a virtual, on screen keyboard.
The Moto Backflip is certainly an entry-level handset to say the least. While it doesnâ€™t directly compete with the iPhone 3GS, in my opinion, it certainly ushers in a new era of Android on AT&T. Only time will tell if it truly lives up to the hype of being the first Android device on â€œBig Blue.â€
For reviews of the device, hit up our parent site PhoneDog.com. (Weâ€™re also working on getting the Backflip here in the house for a head-to-head comparison here at Todayâ€™s iPhone, so stay tuned.)
The Motorola Backflip is the first of several Android devices to debut on AT&T this year. Itâ€™s set to launch due March 7th.