Motorola Charm launches on T-Mobile

Square QWERTY Android phone

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING different than an iPhone? Well, if you want something that stands out, then maybe Motorola’s new Charm is the thing you’ve been waiting for. This square, somewhat odd looking QWERTY Android phone is one of the unusual models to make it out of Motorola’s R&D department and we’re not sure it’s going to be a winner.

The Charm is closely related to Motorola’s Flipout, another peculiar handset that launched a little over a month ago. The difference is that the Charm doesn’t get any smaller, as the keyboard is part of the handsets facia. The two handsets shares the same, relatively tiny 2.8-inch 320×240 touch screen display, the same 600MHz TI OMAP processor and mostly likely the same 512MB of RAM and ROM. Other shared features include HSDPA connectivity, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, a 3Megapixel camera and Android 2.1 with Motoblur.

Oddly enough the Charm only comes with Bluetooth 2.0 rather than 2.1 according to Motorola’s specifications and it also doesn’t seem to feature as good video playback abilities as the Flipout, is according to Motorola the Charm can only play back video at 24fps compared to 30fps of the Flipout. On the plus side the Charm does comes with Gorilla Glass that should protect it from scratches and the big selling point to US customers is support for T-Mobile’s 1700MHz 3G band. It also has a multi-touch screen that supports pinch to zoom and unlike a certain popular handset, it supports Adobe Flash.

Now the Charm doesn’t look like it’s a bad device as such, although if it ends up costing anything over $99 on a contract, we can’t see it gaining much popularity despite Motorola’s best efforts. It’s always great to try out new form factors, but as much as the Charm might look like a Blackberry competitor, Motorola has actually managed to fit a lower resolution display on it than what you get on most Blackberry devices. This makes the Charm a poor choice for web usage on the move, unlike most Android devices with the exception of the cheapest budget models. The Charm is set to hit retail shortly for a yet unknown price and it will of course be exclusive to T-Mobile in the US.

In related news, it looks like Motorola is prepping a version of its Motoroi design for T-Mobile’s 1700MHz AWS spectrum as well, as a handset which is currently known as the MB710 just passed through the FCC. The specifications are a bit murky at the moment, but it’ll most likely feature the same 3.7-inch 854×480 display as most of the other Motoroi derivates carry. Unlike the Charm, you’re stuck with using a virtual keyboard on the MB710, but we’d happily swap the higher resolution screen for the keyboard on the Charm.S|A

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