Motorola confirms the BACKFLIP, will roll out Android 2.1 and Flash 10

by: Susan ElleryJanuary 7, 2010

It has been rumored and spied and even had its name changed, but the long rumored Motorola  BACKFLIP is now official. As expected, the BACKFILP is a reverse QWERTY flip phone and will feature:

  • UMTS 850/1900/2100,
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 7.2 Mbps (Category 7/8), EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12
  • 5 megapixel, auto-focus, LED flash
  • 3.1in 320 x 480 256k color TFT display
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi 802.11b/g
  • 2GB microSD included up to 32GB supported
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Android 1.5 with MOTOBLUR

Motorola confirmed that the handset was headed to multiple carriers worldwide and one carrier in North America but was hesitant to identify that carrier. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that all the rumors and the GSM band information point to AT&T as the BACKFLIP’s official carrier. In addition to the BACKFLIP, Motorola announced that it will roll out Android 2.1 to all of its existing handsets! Good news for CLIQ owners, despite living in the shadow of the DROID, Motorola has not forgotten you. Last but not least, Motorola also confirmed that it is working hard to get Flash 10 out to its Android handsets. The DROID, in particular, is the optimal platform for Flash and will receive it as a update in the future.

  • Personally I am worried that the 528 MHz processor within this phone isn’t going to be able to match the next gen of Android powered handsets from HTC, on top of this I am also skeptical that feeling a QWERTY keyboard underneath your fingers whilst making a call is going to have any positive response from consumers.

    The screen also appears to be incredibly finger print and smudge happy, and the overall look of the phone is a little bit plasticky. Couple that to the V shaped keyboard – which although is a nice change to all the samey handsets lately, has no real point to increasing user functionality and thus could be seen as a gimmick.

    But we’ll have to wait and see, i’m certainly not expecting anything new in terms of OS, but the overall chassis of this thing will be something special i’m sure – possibly even innovative and inspiring to other manufacturers.

    Innovation? Sure. Clouded inpiration? Definately not.

    Thanks for the post :)



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  • Tony

    Jakk said he’s concerned this generation of phone processor won’t, quote, “be able to match the next gen of Android powered handsets”.

    Duh! That’s the whole point of having a “next gen”.

    But will it be among the best for the first several months it’s out? Certainly if it’s among the only qwerty Androids when it comes out.

  • dont

    “Motorola confirms” can you please cite the source of this confirmation?

    All I read is that the phone does not have a processor capable of using flash 10.0


  • Kelly Hodgkins

    This information from Motorola was released as part of its CES 2010 press event that took place the first week of January. Back in January, Adobe had not restricted Flash 10 to handsets with the ARM Cortex processor and Android 2.X. In fact, Motorola, in a press release following that Jan press event, even states that:

    “….Motorola will be deploying the full Flash Player broadly across the Android product portfolio. Motorola’s Android products will have Flash Player updates available once Adobe releases Flash Player 10.1, expected in the first half of 2010.

    You can read the Flash press release here:

  • Frank in Pensacola, FL

    …interesting to see how the same FUD appears for non-iPhone products. “on top of this I am also skeptical that feeling a QWERTY keyboard underneath your fingers whilst making a call is going to have any positive response from consumers”. This person hasn’t even picked up the phone and is basing the supposed negative reaction of the entire marketplace on something that may not even be true. Having actually had one in hand, I can tell you the keyboard is not as raised as smaller QWERTY keyboards have to be to be usable. Plus, it shuts off when closed so you can’t trigger it by accident when holding the phone to your ear.

    The next FUD statement was “The screen also appears to be incredibly finger print and smudge happy, and the overall look of the phone is a little bit plasticky.” The screen is meant to be touched – duh! It’s a TOUCHscreen, dude. So I guess you could say that ANY touchscreen phone is going to be “incredibly finger print and smudge happy.” Not only is the statement FUD, it’s content free. Nice. A double threat.

    Finally, “Jakk” says “Couple that to the V shaped keyboard – which although is a nice change to all the samey handsets lately, has no real point to increasing user functionality and thus could be seen as a gimmick.” What the heck is this guy talking about? The keyboard is rectangular. The only “V” shape is when you partially close the clamshell case so you can set the phone down and view the screen hands-free. Not sure how that isn’t an increase in functionality. The only design flaw is that you can’t type on the phone when it’s set up this way. Compare that to the Tilt 2, where you can angle the screen the other way, set it down, and still type on the keyboard (though the room on it is not as generous).

    Gotta love how the Web lets people speculate based solely on a photograph and a technical spec sheet, w/o a shred of objective experience or evidence.

    I’ve given the Backflip at the local store a 30 minute test drive about 3-4 times now (not a LOT of experience, but some at least). None of “Jakk’s” concerns are evident to me. In fact, the main flaws I see with the phone are: 1) if it flipped the other way it would be better, as I COULD set it down for hands free and still enter stuff on the keyboard; 2) the screen size is a wee bit too small (just a quarter inch more and the width would have rivaled the iPhone and made it a killer eReader for PDF files and other documents, but Backfip’s still OK as is); 3) the talk time is only 3 hours (to the iPhone 3GS 5+) and Backflip users are posting lots of complaints about variable battery life w/normal use.

    • @Frank – The keyboard statement was fair, regardless of whether or not the author had actually used the device. It is odd to have the keyboard there. Nothing was said about typing by accident on a call or anything.

      As to the display, not all displays are as prone to smudging as others, in spite of what you might think. Motorola’s displays are among the worst in that respect that I have used (and I use a CLIQ on a daily basis). There are different types of glass and oleophobic coatings that can have a significant impact on prints and such. The iPhone, for example, is much better in this regard.

  • mike weiler

    I have the backflip and love it….wish you could get rid of some of the motoblur applications ut so far its great. i would never get a single tasked Iphone over it ever!

  • al

    I bought a new motorola with the android operatiing system based on flashplayer 10.0 coming for it in the first half of 2010 and am finding out now that that was basically a lie. All I hear now is that flash 10 will be available for android system 2.2 in october, with no mention of ANYTHING ANYWHERE for my 2.1 android that I bought in april. I feel desperately ripped off and lied to. I’ve already made up my mind that I’m leaving verizon because of this and the fact that from day one my plan was set up wrong, costing me HOURS on the phone, money, and missed calls. I WANT WHAT I WAS PROMISED FROM BOTH COMPANY’S.

  • shhhhhh

    @al……quit ur bitching they are doing all they can and dont need to hear u cry

  • eddieandroid

    shut up you whining piece of willie dribble!

  • jacob

    For all those out there that think that the keyboard being on the back, and being unprotected, it is almost completely smooth, so u cant feel it when ur making a call, or anything, the keyboard is disabled when its folded, and the camera is slightly recessed, so oil from your hands shouldnt get on it, unless your trying to. this phone is really an amazing phone, and when it gets the upgrade to 2.1, itll be an amazing phone, that could easily beat the iphone.

  • mano

    well its a good phone for a teenager that knows how to work android phones. supposedly backflip owners should be getting 2.1 end of Q3 which is July-September, about 50% of android phones are over 2.1 and some even 2.2 which supports flash. if we do not get 2.1 by end of september I will be really disappointed in Motorola and this phone.

  • motoman1234

    I am a backflip owner myself, and I greatly enjoy the phone and features. I dont use any of the social network junk but still enjoy the phone. As for the keyboard being on the backside of the phone It is disabled when the phone is closed just like jacob said, And I love the original factor in this. How many other phones have that, About 0 to date. As far as Android 2.1 yes I am excited for the release, However my panties are not going to get in a bunch because it hasnt been released yet. One thing everyone should think of is that Yes it is in fact taking longer then expected, But that means partially they want the bugs out. Do you want a phone that is glitchy and consistantly crashes. I know alot of droid owners from the droid 1, droid 2, droid x, and incredible and they all have bugs. Is this because It got “THE NEW” os to soon. Im sure it is. So be patient just as I and all the other proud backflip owners are.

  • nicholas

    It is currently passed the Q3 of the year. Its almost november and there still isn’t any upgrade available. Do u have any info about when exactly they plan on rolling out the 2.1 upgrade?

  • timothy

    if you all haven’t already figured it out, like me, I went to the motorola website, under the support page for the Backflip. there is a manual download for the 2.1 upgrade on the site. it takes about twenty minutes for the whole process, but it’s great and makes my phone display brighter and it’s a little faster to boot. go check it out, maybe it will solve your problems. =)

  • Daniel

    This is a nice phone, albeit quite slow. Timothy, I don’t have any idea how you had any luck with the 2.1 update. Aside from the radio update that improved signal, the rest of the update only hindered the backflip. Motoblur was atrocious to being with, and it only got worse with the update.
    I wound up installing J_r0dd’s 2.1 preclair and noticed significant improvements as well as a lot less blur. I’m currently running CM7, developed by J_r0dd, wich is becoming an official CM7 device soon. If you tweak the phone right (turn off animations, overclock to 691 mghz, set the low mghz to 248 and the governer to lag-free) the phone becomes snappy and works very well.
    It is amazing how much better a custom firmware ported mostly by a single developer (with help, especially from kernelzilla) performs far better than this, not to mention it’s android 2.3.4 and it performs better than motorola’s official 2.1 release.
    It does require rooting, but if you follow the how-tos at mod-my-mobile it’s really quite easy to do. Just don’t skip any steps and if something doesn’t work, seek help. The community is quite friendly and helpful.

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