Motorola Backflip: The backlash bellyflop of shame

by Jolie Gendel on 8th Mar 2010 - 7 Comments

Oh AT&T, you’re like that passive-aggressive friend that claims to be your buddy, but tells everyone what a loser you are behind your back.  You’re about as useful as an ice cube in a blizzard.

You chose what is being called the worst Android phone in the U.S., all the while proclaiming it’s revolutionary design.  I suppose this is technically true, though as we all know, newer isn’t always better. Flashy on the outside, Android 1.5 on the inside.  Next you strip out Google search, only to replace it with an engine nobody uses.  This isn’t entirely true, I’m sure plenty of people do use Yahoo!, just nobody I know.

Now, before I get to my next point, let’s reflect on an interview Engadget did with AT&T’s CEO Ralph de la Vega just last year (emphasis ours):

… we like the Android as an operating system on its own, but we want to make sure that we have, and customers have the option, to put applications on that device that are not just Google applications, so when the G1 came out and T-Mobile launched it, it’s primarily a Google phone. And we want to give customers the choice of other applications on that device, not just the same Google applications….I think it makes a lot of sense that the OS is open-source, separate from Google apps that are also very good.

Alright, you want to give your customers the option to get apps from sources other than Android Market, we can go with that.  After all, the option to install 3rd party apps is right there in the settings. Mr. de la Vega however, decided choice meant locking down the device to prevent 3rd party installs, and filling it up with pre-loaded apps that can’t be removed. Aside from the obvious annoyance this presents, it also means people won’t be able to download beta apps like Swype to try out, and developers won’t even be able to test their own apps on a Backflip.

This leaves AT&T with a crippled and poorly designed Android that is running an outdated system, and they really don’t care. Of course they’re trying to market it as a good thing, but it’s been clear for a while now that AT&T really doesn’t like Android and is embracing the OS only because everyone else is. I wouldn’t be surprised if they later claim poor sales as indicator of how unpopular Android really is.  That would at least give them a pseudo-legitimate reason for discontinuing Android from their lineup.

Know someone with a Backflip? Tell them application freedom is possible, just by downloading the Android SDK and running some console commands. The how-to can be found over at XDA-Developers.

[Source Engadget, Androinica]

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About the Author

Though my day job takes me away from the tech world, much of my free time is spend being a gadget geek. I’m an Android Fan girl, and I’ve made it my goal to convert as many as possible to the green guy. Yeah, you can say I’m Android obsessed. I’m the proud owner of a Nexus One, and I’m excited to see where the future of Android goes. In the meantime, you’ll find me here writing about Android and enjoying my view of the great white north.

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  1. Jason Bowdach
    2010/03/08 at 20:15:23

    Ughh….this phone makes me ill.

  2. Michael Clyne
    2010/03/08 at 22:17:40

    I got the backflip yesterday. Dont get me wrong. It *nice* but it just gets the job done. It is sluggish, out of date and full of crap ware that I cant get rid of. Worst purchase choice I have made i a phone since I bought an Ngage… Please. Save yourself the agony. Go get a unlocked nexus one. You wont get 3G but you will be alot happier. I should know. I have had at&t on a g1 for almost a year now.

  3. edickson
    2010/03/09 at 15:19:22

    Of course at&t iw not going to realease a great android phone. that would steal sales from their baby the iphone. if they were to do that they mightt anger the “god” jobs and he might want to give the iphone to another carrier and where would at&t be without their iphone!? can you imagine that…..

  4. Telus gets Motorola Backflip | Tech Alps
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  6. Willie
    2010/04/28 at 01:23:32

    Many people in the last month and a half have portrayed the backflip as a flop, a mistake, wrong headed and severly crippled becuase of the addition of at&t apps, google search replacement and the inability to install untrusted apps. All of these complaints save one can be addressed. EVERY smartphone sold by AT&T has “Hard Wired” apps on it and after unlocking, jailbreaking or rooting they are promptly removed by those owners so inclined. This phone has exactly the same hardware as the cliq, devour and the dext, but none of those phones are looked on with as much disgust and derision. If you don’t like the phone DONT BUY IT or return it if you have already purchased it. But if it’s branded apps on your smartphone that really pisses you off, then you might want to start shopping for another carrier.

  7. Willie
    2010/04/28 at 01:27:43

    One more thing, what genius would pay $30 a month(minimum charge @ AT&T) for edge data service?