AT&T’s first foray into the wonderful world of Android an utter failure. Motorola Backflip/Enzo a piece of garbage with Yahoo experience.

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by Mike
Posted December 16th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

To AT&T users who have been holding out for their day to claim Android and use the The Nation’s Most Reliable Network, The Nation’s Fastest Network, “Death Star” — a gsm network that happens to reside inside of the U.S — the Moto Backflip/Enzo is a slap in the face.

AT&T had to get into the Android game at some point. They’d be stupid not to. While many AT&T hopeful were no doubt looking forward to some sweet high end uber Android device, I’m sorry to say that they won’t find it here. Granted, something is better than nothing of course. Or is it?

The phone as we now know it is the Motorola Backflip/Enzo and features that oddly aligned keyboard that when closed allows the keyboard to rest on the outside of the phone — Why? (shout out to Android Central, haha) — and also comes pre-loaded chock full of AT&T specific apps, lables, and branded buttons. Oh joy.

The specs are pretty similar to the Moto CLIQ on T-Mobile and position the phone squarely as a mid-range device more geared towards tweeners ad the “younger at heart”.

  • 3.1 inch display 320 x 480 (HVGA)
  • 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A
  • 512 MB ROM/256 MB RAM
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 W-CDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
  • WiFi / Bluetooth 2.0 / GPS
  • OS Android 1.5 with Motoblur
  • 5 megapixel camera with LED flash
  • Reverse flip keyboard & Rear directional touchpad

*Reamin positive, remain positive, remain positive.*

Being a complete gadget nerd I realize I want every new phone to blow me away and leave me speechless. I also realize that simply isn’t how life and the market woks. WIth that said, I’m still left disappointed completely disgusted with the Backflip/Enzo. AT&T people have been waiting for over a year and what do they have to show for it — a phone that uses the going on 2-year old 528MHz Qualcomm processor, outdated Android 1.5, AT&T garb through and through, and a goofy design that leaves the keyboard exposed even when closed.

Keyboard

First we’ll backtrack a tad and visit that keyboard. Why did they design it the way they did? I get the trackball on the back. It’s actually not a bad idea. It gives back precious space on the keyboard for what needs to be there — keys. The trackball then has free reign on the backside giving a rare yet seemingly highly functional design. The flipped keyboard however is weird. If the keys aren’t resilient, broken/missing keys are going to be a big issue. The keys however are nice and big — a plus!

Android 1.5?

What the hell is it with carriers spending so much time tweaking and fixing old software and pushing it out with a prettied face as if it’s something new and exciting. MotoBLUR’s design is cool and unique. I get that. But Android 1.5? Really!? I’d really like to know who makes these decisions and how they get the positions they do. The appearance of Android 1.5 isn’t the end however. Oh no, it’s gets better worse.

AT&T *vomit* branding

One of the great things about Android is the way it gives end users, carriers included, the ability to fully customize the OS till the ends of the earth. A blessing it is, a curse it has become. In the case of the AT&T Backflip/Enzo, AT&T hasn’t left any stone unturned, any button un-AT&T-ified, or any element of the phone free of AT&T’s crap branding. The AT&T key on the keyboard reeks of econo-phone stench. It’s just like those stupid WAP web buttons that Verizon in particular is getting so much flack for at the moment — nickel-and-diming users to death. If you have any dealings or memories of past encounters with dumb/feature phones on AT&T (or any other carrier), you’re all too familiar with those carrier branded apps. You know the ones that offer an extremely limited (read: poor, poor selection) of apps and services at greatly inflated prices and all because they (the carrier) feel they’re doing you a service.

**NOT a Google exerience — Yahoo Experience sucker punches after hiding popping out of the closet

Another blunder…wait for it…wait for it…a complete lack of any Google apps except for Google Maps. **Side Note: This isn’t the first “non-Google” phone. But seeing as how MotoBLUR on the CLIQ is so tightly integrated with Google apps, the complete 180 is striking.

Along the same lines, the stratification that everyone is starting to get worried about just got a big shot of relevance with this phone. A brand spankin’ new phone launching with old everything and the enemies search engine. I swear to god AT&T ruins everything they touch.

Yahoo Search love fest

Christ, I’ve lost all hope in this piece of garbage. An OS heavily pushed, touched, cared for, and ultimately run by Google features Yahoo Search as the crowning search provider. ‘Nough said.

I’ll probably get flamed, skewered, and raked over the hot coals for poo pooing AT&T’s Android virgin. So be it. I’m calling this waste of everyone’s time for what it is. Between insults and obscenities, just think about how you’re going to feel when twenty things are trying to update in the background (since MotoBLUR is all about the social scene) on that two-year old processor. Lest we not forget how the MotoCLIQ was looked upon unfavorably because of the unrefined OS. The ultimate uber social idea is great and all. But the hardware on the CLIQ — the exact same as this phone here — had a hard time juggling so many tasks.

In the end, I come away feeling sad. Sad beyond words for the countless AT&T users whom are weeping oceans from their faces asking themselves “Why?”. Why did they wait for so long only to be let down so harshly? Can AT&T not step away from their own little world where they’re the super greatest and realize that they are not a software company nor GUI designer? Because of that, they need to learn to keep their hands off of the phone itself. It worked wonderfully on the iPhone — not a hint of AT&T crap branding except for the network indicator. Though Apple has a much larger bargaining power than Motorola. On that note, I’d also be interested to know exactly how much influence Motorola had and how much power AT&T stripped away.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Backflip/Enzo will gain a loyal following much like the socially connected CLIQ on T-Mobile. But as far as gaining anything close to the Droid-like cult following and mass hysteria — well, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell. Not one. The Moto Backflip/Enzo is a knock against Android, AT&T, and Motorola.

So AT&T users, are you now left looking ahead to the next Android device that will hopefully come sometime in 2010? Currently you’re only hope is looking at being either the Nexus One since it comes with your 3G bands and all or some completely unknown device. Ya, your options downright suck right now.

Phandroid Android Central

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2 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Vladimir Kelman
    December 18, 2009 at 9:10 am
    Reply

    Guys, do not buy this piece of garbage. (I wonder if AT&T’s hidden goal was to turn away its users from Android?)
    It’s not yet clear if Nexus One will support AT&T 3G frequencies, but even with EDGE it would be wonderful. I’m currently on AT&T network with my Android Dev Phone 1 (i.e. HTC Dream) with only EDGE connectivity, but I still enjoy my phone (CyanogenMOD rocks!)
    Another possibility is to buy unlocked HTC Hero with AT&T 3G frequencies from Negri Electrinics. It’s much better than crazy Backflip with Yahoo search.

    Vladimir Kelman
    Non-phone Android Devices wave

    • Mike
      December 18, 2009 at 9:15 am
      Reply

      ..”It’s not yet clear if Nexus One will support AT&T 3G frequencies”…

      Ya, about that AT&T 3G support — it’s a no go. But you’re right, Android does a much better job of managing data use on EDGE networks. Much better than the iPhone though not as frugal as BlackBerries. So I guess the Nexus is still kind of useful on AT&T. The geek in me however is still disappointed about the no 3G support for big blue.

      On the note of the Backflip being garbage — well, you summed it up. It’s the crappiest Android device yet. End of story.

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