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Review: Motorola Backflip

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Android Market

Yep, the Android Market is still alive and bustling. It is far more robust now than when it first launched in 2008. There are now nearly 20,000 applications to take advantage of. Many of them improve upon the features of the Backflip and Android. Be careful though. The Backflip runs Android 1.5. It won't support apps released for Android 2.0 or 2.1. What's worse, AT&T has apparently placed restrictions on what apps the Backflip can downloaded. Android devices allow users to download and install apps that don't come from the Android market. This feature needs to be enabled in order to work. AT&T has removed the feature completely, meaning the only place Backflip users can get apps is the Android Market. For example, want to try the new Swype beta? Forget it.


The Backflip has Bluetooth and supports stereo headphones. Pairing was a snap with any sort of headset. Sound quality was pretty decent. This older version of Android still does not support a number of other Bluetooth protocols, such as PBA for integration with advanced car kits, no OPP, no FTP.


If you want to check the time quickly, the Backflip lets you do that. When the phone is asleep, press any button and a nice large digital read out of the time is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Alternately, you can dig up the old-fashioned clock from the settings and add it to the home screen, though it won't fit with all the Motoblur stuff that's on the central home screen out of the box.


The Backflip has GPS and is married closely to Google's Maps for Mobile product. Maps for Mobile is fantastic with the Android operating system. It was able to pinpoint my exact location within 15 seconds. AT&T also included its own mapping program and navigation program. In my opinion, Google Maps was far superior to AT&T Maps, which is powered by TeleNav. However, Google Maps doesn't offer voice-guided turn-by-turn directions (on Android 1.5), and AT&T's Navigator software does. AT&T's software costs $10/month.


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