It's now hip to be square. After the customary rumor onslaught, Motorola has finally got round to making its quadratic new mobile phone official. Hiding behind its 2.8-inch display is a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out on a pivot, hence the chosen name for the device - the Flipout. The Android smartphone allows users customizable views of social network feeds, photos snapped with its camera can be uploaded to sharing sites with the touch of a button and conversations benefit from audio enhancement technology.

At 2.63-inches squared and 0.66 inch thick, the Flipout from Motorola certainly stands out from the crowd of its rectangular brethren. The 2.8-inch 320 x 240 QVGA display should always be the right way up thanks to an accelerometer and the square pivot design opens out to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard with separate number keys. It runs on Android 2.1 ably supported by a 600MHz processor with an enhanced MOTORBLUR experience over the top.

MOTOBLUR is the user hub, the interface, the device manager and the center of the Flipout world. Through it users choose how to synchronize and display email, social networking and media feeds, which can be shown by contact name, username or account. It takes care of device management functions through a handy battery manager to help get the most from the device's 1170 mAh battery and a data manager to keep on top of usage. It also secures data by offering automatic contact backup and remote data wipe in the event of loss or theft.

Users are offered up to seven different home screens, each with its own set of user-chosen widgets, live wallpapers and enhanced security for exchange server users. Web and media browsing benefits from multi-touch pinch and zoom, with its media player not only having an FM radio, but also full screen lyric support, song identification and "a social solution for knowing what people around you are listening to." The latter no doubt being taken care of with the help of the proximity sensor.

Although somewhat of a side issue these days, the Flipout hasn't forgotten the importance of conversation and includes CrystalTalk PLUS to enhance a caller's voice quality and filter out background noise. Assisted GPS and an eCompass are included too, as is a 3 megapixel fixed focus camera with 4x digital zoom that incorporates KODAK PERFECT TOUCH technology for better, brighter pictures and a one-touch upload feature for online sharing on sites like Facebook and Photobucket.

It also has access to a full raft of Google services such as Gmail, Google Maps and Search, as well as thousands of apps from the Android Market. Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR is also there, as is a 3.5mm audio jack. Thanks primarily to Apple, whether a device supports Adobe's Flash or not has become newsworthy. Incidentally, this one does.

Oddly, Motorola has announced that colors could well be country-specific and may include Licorice, Fairway Green, Raspberry Crush, Brilliant Blue, Poppy Red, Saffron and White. The Flipout is all set for an impending European release, pricing will no doubt be dependent on tariff.

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