Mobile phone carrier AT&T has recently launched its first handset powered by Google's Android operating system, the Motorola Backflip, a device that comes with a unique form factor, with its QWERTY keyboard that flips in reverse, and which is now reportedly limiting the experience that the Android OS can offer. It seems that AT&T has decided to chain the platform on the device through limiting access to applications, changing the search engine of the device, and more.
What news sites around the web have been pointing out lately is that the user experience AT&T customers will receive from the Motorola Backflip is limited to installing applications only from the Android Market. Moreover, the carrier packed the device with its own apps, and one won't be able to remove them, not to mention that the Backflip runs under the Android 1.5 OS, although the MotoBlur solution in included in the package.
“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. And we want to give customers the choice of other applications on that device, not just the same Google applications,” is what Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, stated last year in an interview with Engadget, and it seems that the carrier indeed acted as such.
According to a recent article on androidandme, the Motorola Backflip won't offer users the possibility to install applications that come from unknown sources, but only those available in the Android Market. “This is important to note because every Android phone (that I know of) has included this as a default option of the Android OS,” the news site notes.
This issue seems to have a solution in the end, as the guys over at xda-developers already came up with a hack that enable users go around this limitation. However, there is still the problem with AT&T's apps, which cannot be uninstalled, especially since Android devices usually suffer from low memory space. Hopefully, future Android phones from AT&T will come with less limitations and more features.