The Flipout – as revealed over on Italian-language blog HDBlog.it and translated by the guys over at MobileCrunch – is Motorola’s latest Android handset, and while the specifications aren’t anything to write home about it’s certainly likely to get tongues wagging with its interesting form factor.
First, the specs: based around Android 2.1 – the latest version of Google’s mobile platform currently available – with Motorola’s BLUR enhanced user interface tacked on top, the Flipout certainly looks good from a software perspective. Sadly, if you scratch below the surface and take a look at the hardware you’ll reveal a handset clearly aimed at the budget end of the market – although a lack of pricing information doesn’t make it clear whether Motorola knows that’s where the handset will lie.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the hardware specifications per se – a small 2.8″ touch-screen display is powered by an unnamed 700MHz processor, and a respectable if slightly cramped 256MB RAM keeps everything ticking over – and the inclusion of a 3.1 megapixel camera with geotagging support from the integrated GPS keeps things on a par with the rival iPhone, but the Flipout certainly isn’t Motorola’s most exciting Android handset so far. Anyone hoping to perform multitasking – one of the Android platform’s strong suits – will find the RAM in particular an issue.
It’s the form factor that will be the selling – or otherwise – point for this handset, however: when first held, the square device appears to be more of an oddly-shaped digital photo frame than a smartphone. Pivot the display out of the way, however, and you’ll reveal a somewhat cramped QWERTY physical keyboard – not something you’ll be wanting to type out the great American novel on, but certainly better than the on-screen keyboard for short texts and web form entries.
Although it has been revealed that the handset will start shipping in the US some time in June in three colors – a smart black, a neon green, and a shocking pink – so far details as to cost and which carrier – or carriers – will be stocking the device are not available. Doubtless Motorola will be making an announcement closer to the device’s release date.
Motorola will have to hurry, however: with the next release of Android, version 2.2 codenamed ‘Froyo’, on the horizon – and bringing some impressive new features with it – the Flipout risks being obsolete before it even hits the shelves if the company misses its planned June release date.