AT&T To Offer Android Smartphone

Android phones are a growing competitor to the AT&T-exclusive Apple iPhone.

Antone Gonsalves

February 19, 2010

2 Min Read
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Motorola Backflip Smartphone
(click image for larger view)
Motorola Backflip Smartphone

AT&T, the exclusive wireless service provider of the Apple iPhone in the U.S., is preparing to offer its first smartphone based on Google's Android operating system.

The Motorola Backflip will be added next month to the variety of phones AT&T sells online and in its stores. Offering the Android phone side-by-side with the latest iPhone, which is double the price, will provide customers an opportunity to immediately compare the smartphones.

Android phones are a growing competitor to the iPhone in the U.S. smartphone market. In the last quarter of 2009, Android phones captured 5.2% of the market, up from 2.5% the previous quarter, according to research firm ComScore. Android's gain came at the expense of other smartphone makers, but not Apple. The iPhone took 25.3% of the market, up from 24.1% in the previous quarter.

AT&T plans to sell the Backflip for $100, after a $100 mail-in rebate and a two-year service contract. Pricing for the iPhone 3GS starts at $200 with a two-year service contract. AT&T plans to offer Backflip starting March 7.

The Backflip was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The handset has a 3.1-inch touchscreen and a full QWERTY keypad on the back of the device. The keypad can be used when the phone is opened flat, but is inactive when the device is closed. When the keypad is tilted backwards at an angle, the Backflip can be used as a digital photo frame, video viewer or bedside alarm clock.

Other features include a 5 megapixel camera for shooting still photos and videos. The home screen offers widgets that provide easy access to updates, messages, photos and contacts on social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The mini-apps also simplify posting to the sites.

The Backflip runs on AT&T 3G broadband network and also includes built-in Wi-Fi support. The phone also includes access to the online Android Marketplace, which offers 20,000 applications.

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