AT&T To Sell iPhone Rival, Android-Powered Backflip

AT&T Inc. (T) will carry its first Android-powered Motorola Inc. (MOT) phone as of this spring, but don’t expect any snarky digs at the iPhone this time around.

When Verizon Wireless (VZ) launched the Motorola Droid last year, it ran a series of “iDon’t” ads mocking the iPhone’s weak points. But since AT&T is the exclusive iPhone carrier, we aren’t likely to be as entertained by the marketing hype.

Nonetheless, the new Motorola device sounds pretty cool. It’s called the Backflip because the keyboard flips backward so it can be used as an alarm clock or a video viewer or a digital photo frame. Google’s Android operating system runs the smartphone and Backflip capabilities include social networking connectivity thanks to a platform called Motoblur. There’s also a QWERTY keyboard, a 3.1-inch color touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, GPS, 7.2 HSPA 3G technology and a 5-megapixel camera with some key features.

The phone sounds cool, but tech blogger Mark Milian of the Los Angeles Times isn’t sold on it.

“We spent a couple of minutes playing with the Motorola Backflip at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and weren’t impressed,” he wrote on Thursday.

Milian blamed “an outdated version” of Android that “probably won’t see a software upgrade any time soon” and a processor that isn’t as fast as that of the Droid or Nexus One.

“…the Backflip feels lacking,” Milian lamented.

AT&T will start selling the Backflip online and in stores on March 7. It will cost $99.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract.

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