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  • 8 March, 2010

Motorola Backflip: The backlash bellyflop of shame

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This leaves AT&T with a crippled and poorly designed Android that is running an outdated system, and they really don’t care.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]