Motorola Jan. 17 launched in Korea the Motoroi, a new smartphone based on Version 2.0 of Google’s Android operating system that combines some of the features of the successful Motorola Droid and Google’ new Nexus One smartphone.
The device, supported by SK Telecom in Korea, boasts Motorola’s touch user interface and a capacitive touch sensor to make it easy for users to access Websites, as well as video, games and photos.
Taking a page from Motorola’s successful Droid device, the Motoroi includes a 3.7-inch screen with a high-definition WVGA display. The Motoroi also features five home screens, letting users install applications and widgets and then drag and drop them to the home screens. This is a capability that has pleased users of the Nexus One.
Unlike the Droid Nexus One devices, the Motoroi includes native pinch-and-zoom browsing, or multitouch. This means users don’t have to install anything or use a special Web browser to enjoy multitouch on the phone.
The Motoroi is also tightly integrated with Google’s Web applications and services, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Talk. In addition, the device supports Google Maps, with the ability to let Korean users search for businesses near their location and get turn-by-turn driving directions from Google Maps Navigation.
The Motoroi has an intense digital media concentration, offering an 8-megapixel camera with Xenon flash and a 720p HD camcorder. The camera boasts face detection, multishot capability up to six shots, face filter, red eye reduction and camera shake prevention, among other perks.
The device also includes features that could help professionals fancy it as a device for knowledge work. For example, the phone includes five text-input methods, including a 3-by-4 keypad, full QWERTY, half QWERTY, hand writing and writing pad.
Users can synchronize and manage multiple e-mail accounts simultaneously, and Gmail contacts sync. There is also a Microsoft and PDF document viewer, and optical character recognition. This technology lets the phone read business cards, recognizing contact information on business cards and storing the information to professionals’ phonebooks.
The phone is pricey. Motorola told the Wall Street Journal the Motoroi will cost 900,000 won, or $800. However, this is par for the course in Korea, where the iPhone sells for around 900,000 won.
Pricey or not, the ceiling for smartphones that propel Web applications is quite high. Gartner said consumers will spend $6.2 billion in 2010 in mobile application stores, which will exceed 4.5 billion downloads in 2010.
Gartner analyst Stephanie Baghdassarian said mobile games remain the No. 1 application, followed by mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools.
The Motoroi is the first Android-based device from Motorola since the company launched the Backflip at the Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 6. That launch came one day after Google unveiled its Nexus One smartphone based on Android 2.1.
The Motoroi also follows the launch of the ballyhooed Droid phone in November, backed by partner Google and a massive $100 million advertising campaign from service provider Verizon Wireless.