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Innovation

AT&T looks to be detracting from the Android experience with the Backflip

AT&T was the last remaining carrier to get a Google Android device, but it looks like they may have messed around too much with the Motorola Backflip to make it a very attractive device. Did they cripple the experience so that users stick with the iPhone instead?
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

Apple must have put some major pressure on AT&T when they launched the iPhone and were able to roll it out with no AT&T crapware installed or even anything related to AT&T appearing on the phone. I purchased an HTC Fuze and Nokia E71x over the last couple of years in addition to my iPhones and both of these devices were so loaded with unremovable junk that I had to do all I could to wipe them clean and that still wasn't enough to make them as good as they could have been. People have been waiting quite some time for AT&T to launch their first Android device and unfortunately it looks like AT&T ruins the experience yet again with what Android and Me reports as the most cripped Android experience with the Motorola Backflip.

I held the Motorola Backflip for a few minutes at CES 2010 and thought it was quite an interesting device with a back that is touch sensitive so you can control the navigation on the display. However, it is an older generation device with the 528 MHz processor and older version of the Google Android OS. We also heard recently about the odd replacement of Google Search with Yahoo! Search by AT&T. I understand it is not really a branded Google device with MOTOBLUR as the focus, but it is very strange to have a Google Android device without Google as the default search engine.

The folks at Android and Me reported on two other issues with the Motorola Backflip, including the inability to install apps unless they are through the Android Market and inability to remove any of the AT&T bloatware (reported to be something like a dozen apps). I have used the ability to install apps outside the Android Market for a few apps on my devices and in reality this is probably not that much of an issue. You know my feelings on AT&T bloatware though and this is a big deal for me. I understand if a carrier wants to add apps for their services and utilities, but AT&T goes overboard and the user should have the ability to hide or remove these if they do not want to use them. I wonder if AT&T will get any more Google Android devices because this first attempt is not very promising.

What we see here on the Backflip also caused me to start thinking about what AT&T will do to ruin a Palm webOS device. An AT&T slide at CES 2010 showed that they would be getting a webOS device, but Palm has never said this and we have seen no further information on such a device. If it is loaded with more crapware, that won't help Palm out at all.

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