written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 9/21/2010
The Motorola Flipout offers a uniquely designed, rotating keyboard on a small 2.8 inch screen. This Android powered phone from Motorola is a welcome breath of fresh air to a market flooded with phones with similar designs. But is the design enough to warrant this as a breakout phone?
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Motorola Flipout Review
The Motorola Flipout is Motorola's take on a new, differently designed Android powered smartphone. Currently, the competitive U.S. market is filled with candy bar shaped touchscreen only phones, or touchscreen phones with landscape sliding keyboards. There are some portrait sliding touchscreens such as the BlackBerry Torch or the Palm Pre. The Motorola Flipout is a new concept, it has a keyboard that rotates out from the back and, as the name suggests, flips out. It's an interesting new design, but sadly it may actually never hit the U.S. market. It was set to release over the weekend of September 18th - 19th, but it has been rumored that AT&T has possibly axed the Motorola Flipout from their lineup. Currently the Flipout is available in Canada through Rogers and in the U.K. from Orange.
Motorola Flipout Specifications:
Dimensions: 2.64 x 2.64 x 0.67 inches (67 x 67 x 17 mm)
Weight: 4.23 oz (120 g)
Display: 2.8 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display, 320 x 240 pixels
Memory: Expanded external MicroSD
OS: Android OS 2.1
Processor: 600 MHz OMAP3410
Camera: 3 MP camera
Connectivity: GSM Quad-band phone capable of global roaming (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), UMTS dual-band European/Asian 3G (900/2100 MHz)
Data: EDGE/HSDPA 7.2 Mbit/s/HSUPA 2.0 Mbit/s
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1, Stereo Bluetooth
GPS: GPS with A-GPS
Battery: Li-Ion 1170 mAh
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Design and Display
The Motorola Flipout has a very interesting design, separating itself from not only its own competition, the Motorola Droid X, or the Motorla Charm, but also from its external competitors, such as the Samsung Captivate or the Apple iPhone 4G. It's designed to be small, fitting right in the palm of your hand when the keyboard is rotated in. When the keyboard is needed, or if you feel like doing something to waste time, you can rotate the keyboard out. The rotating mechanism is fairly solid and actually very addictive.
In addition, the Motorola Flipout has swappable covers, meaning you can stylize your phone the way you want it; Licorice, Fairway Green, Raspberry Crush, Brilliant Blue, Poppy Red, Saffron and White, use the color you like.
The small size is also pocket friendly, able to slip in and out of your pocket with no trouble. The nearly palm sized phone is perfect for those who want smaller sized, powerful smartphones. On the top of the phone is your standard power / lock button along with the 3.5 mm headjack. On the sides are the volume rocker and microUSB port.
The screen itself is a 2.8 inch TFT capactive touchscreen, with the usual Android buttons, menu, home, and back. The beauty of this phone, of course, is the rotating QWERTY keyboard. Rotate out and you have a full QWERTY keyboard ready to work with. The only downside is the space wasting directional pads on the bottom left hand corner, used for navigation. As the display is touchscreen and very responsive, the directional pad seems pointless.
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The hardware for the Motorola Flipout is not the most powerful, however it meets the needs of the target audience, the lower to mid range customers. The Flipout has an innovate design with fairly powerful hardware and runs on Android 2.1 with MOTOBLUR. The full feature set is very similar to other Android powered devices and the 3 megapixel camera isn't the best, but it does its job. The Motorola Flipout is very similar to the camera, not the best out there, not the most impressive, but not the worst either, and it does its job. With the rumored cancellation of the Flipout from AT&T's network, one has to wonder what will become of this nicely designed, innovative smartphone.
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Hardware and Software
The hardware for the Motorola Flipout is on the lower side, as the phone itself is aiming for the lower market. The processor is a 600 MHz OMAP3410, which was modeled after the ARM Cortex A8, which makes the processor itself surprisingly fast. Very little lagtime is ever encountered when using the Flipout. The Motorola Flipout comes preloaded with a 2GB microSD card and has 512 MB of RAM, which is about what's needed for a lower end phone.
The software is, of course, Android OS 2.1 (Eclair) with Motorola's third party proprietary overlay, MOTOBLUR running on top. There are currently no announcements or rumors of an upgrade to 2.2 but one can only guess that it will come out eventually.
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The user interface for the Motorola Flipout is very intuitive and easy to use. Similar to other Motorola Android powered devices, the Motorola Flipout has Motorola's proprietary overlay, MOTOBLUR attached to Android 2.1. In my review of the Motorla Charm, I mentioned that on a small screen, the MOTOBLUR is just too much information crammed into a small screen. The Motorola Flipout, even with a smaller screen, doesn't feel as jam packed. Though MOTOBLUR could be better, it's a fairly good fit for this phone, though vanilla Android OS would be much better.
The directional pad on the keyboard is near useless and is actually more of an annoyance. Trying to use the pad to maneuver on the screen was a bit of a pain, and just touching the screen seemed to be the easier, faster option. Why Motorola decided to use a directional pad is anyone's guess.
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The Motorola Flipout has all the average Android OS features, multiple applications, and the Android Market to expand upon. The Flipout comes with 2.1 Bluetooth and it is GPS enabled. The features of the phone are extremely similar to that of any other Android powered device.
On the back of the phone is the 3 megapixel camera, definitely on the lower end side, considering there are many smartphones out there with 5 to 8 megapixel cameras. Then again, the Flipout is aimed at the budget market so a 3 megapixel camera seems sufficient. It would have been better, however, if Motorola opted to put a better camera on the phone.
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The Motorola Flipout, for all intents and purposes is an 'average' phone in the competetive market of phones. Not the most powerful Android powered device, but also not the worst. It has all the features, though slightly on the lower end and has the unique design to help it stick out from the crowd. The Motorola Flipout was released in Canada through Rogers and Orange in the UK, and was set to be released on AT&T on the weekend of September 18th. Unfortunately, according to rumors it seems that AT&T has scrapped all materials relating to the Motorola Flipout and the launch never occurred. One can only wonder why the Motorola Flipout has possibly been axed from the AT&T lineup. It's possible that it could be hardware or software related, or that AT&T saw the disastrous release of the Microsoft Kin on Verizon and has decided not to pursue this particular market.