Motorola, ATandT Add 3 Android Smartphones to Lineup

AT&T plans to increase its Android smartphone lineup by three. The Motorola Flipout, Flipside and Bravo mobile devices will bring the carrier's Android tally to eight.

AT&T Wireless, which has had the bragging rights these last few years of being the exclusive U.S. purveyor of the Apple iPhone, is increasingly embracing the iPhone's major rival-the Android operating system-as time ticks down on that exclusivity contract.

At the CTIA Wireless trade show in San Francisco Oct. 5, AT&T announced it will soon expand its Android portfolio by three-bringing its tally to eight-with the addition of three Motorola phones, the Flipout, Bravo and Flipside. The phones each run Android 2.1 and the latest version of Motorola's Motoblur user interface.

The most affordable of the three is the Motorola Flipout, which will arrive in stores Oct. 17 and will retail for $79.99 with a two-year service contract and two-year smartphone data plan.

A fun-looking phone if ever there was one, the square Flipout pivots on one corner, showing a 2.6-inch-square, five-row QWERTY keypad to be hiding behind its same-size multitouch display. It comes in cheery color choices of saffron, raspberry and lime, and in addition to an Android browser includes the full suite of Google services, such as Google Maps and Gmail. There's a 3-megapixel camera and 512MB of internal memory, and a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 32GB.

With the newest Motoblur version, the Flipout syncs together updates from a variety of social-messaging sites with e-mails and messages, for a comprehensive social outlook. It also has a battery manager, for keeping an eye on device life, a data manager, for backing up or remotely wiping data, and up to seven home screens, customizable with widgets and applications.

The Motorola Flipside is scheduled to arrive in time for holiday shopping and will retail for $99.99 with two-year service and smartphone data contracts. A slider phone, it features a four-row QWERTY keypad and a 3.1-inch high-res HVGA display that supports pinch and zoom gesturing. Beneath the display is a laptop-style trackpad, offering users the option to keep their smudgy fingers off the screen while navigating.

The Flipside offers push corporate e-mail and a corporate directory lookup, as well as GPS device tracking and the ability to remotely wipe the device clean, should it go missing. On a more fun note, it'll sync social-networking updates with phone book and e-mail contacts, and the company says the CrystalTalk Plus technology suppresses and filters out background noise to make conversations clearer.

Finally, the Motorola Bravo, also arriving for the holidays, will retail for $129.99, with the same contract parameters as the other two. The display's the focus here, as it's a 3.7-inch full WVGA touch screen. On board are an 800MHz processor, a full HTML browser with Flash Lite, a 3-megapixel camera with digital zoom and auto focus, and one-touch access to a number of social-networking sites.

The Bravo is a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) device, which, per AT&T, means that over WiFi it can "stream, store and share entertainment with multiple devices around the home-including PCs, TVs and other mobile devices."

"These three new devices each have a new unique take on the typical smartphone," Alain Mutricy, senior vice president of portfolio and device product management at Motorola, said in a statement. "Plus, the latest enhancements to Motoblur not only allow users to easily stay connected with their networks but better filter so they can focus on the people and information that [mean] the most to them."

AT&T's exclusive hold on the iPhone is expected to expire in January.