It's not often you see an Android-based smartphone with a primary focus on business users, but that's what the Motorola Pro+ is. It combines a front-facing mini-keyboard and a relatively large screen — 3.1in. across the diagonal with a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels. The idea is that the Motorola Pro+ gives businesspeople the easy text entry they require, plus some other extras, while allowing them to use Android to productive effect.
Android has appeared in handsets of this design before. Over the summer I looked at the HTC ChaCha for example — a consumer focused handset with a dedicated button for Facebook. Its screen was, in my view, far too small to handle Android properly.
The screen format of the Motorola Pro+ better suits an OS designed for screens that are taller than they are wide. It still struggles a bit with dense data such as web pages, although auto-rotating into landscape format helps. Incidentally, Motorola has built Flash support in so streaming video from the web is not a problem.
The keyboard is confined to a relatively small area towards the bottom of the handset. It looks squished and if you have large fingers it may prove tricky to use comfortably with speed and accuracy. But the design is good.
There's a separate '@' key, and every key has two characters allocated to it. Start typing while a home screen is showing and the Google search box kicks in, searching both on the device and on Google.
Physically the individually shaped keys bear a striking resemblance to those found on BlackBerry devices. The feel under the fingers isn't quite up to BlackBerry standards though.
Motorola has done work under the hood to help the Motorola Pro+ appeal to corporate users. There are three sets of seven home screens, between which you can switch easily. Called Home, Work and Weekend these can be used to change phone modes as you move through the phases of your life.
Meanwhile there are various security-related features that will appeal to business IT managers. These include dynamic apps permission management, encryption for data stored internally and on microSD card, Bluetooth and camera lockout control both universally and by location, device lockout with ability to change password remotely, full or selective remote data wipe, remote install, uninstall and push of applications and device location tracking.
On the applications side, a full version of QuickOffice allows for the creation of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, and there's Wi-Fi sharing too. For more consumer-friendly times, Motorola's excellent connected music player with features like lyric search, YouTube searching and FM radio is on hand. There's a DLNA client too.
Four gigabytes of internal storage with microSD card support and a 1GHz processor mean the Motorola Pro+ is a capable handset, and Motorola has avoided its very consumer-esque Motoblur user interface with social media emphasis. The social media stuff can be done on the Motorola Pro+, but it's all rather more discreetly managed.
All this comes in a handset that's quite pocket friendly measuring 119.5mm by 62mm by 11.65mm and weighing 130g, with a Gorilla Glass screen, 5-megapixel camera and estimated 8 hours of talk time. Clove, who provided our review sample, is currently selling the Motorola Pro+ for £322.80 (inc. VAT) SIM-free.