updated 07:50 am EST, Tue January 6, 2009
Moto Phones at CES
Motorola this morning used the advent of CES to refresh its cellphones, starting with one of its only phones dominated by its touchscreen. The MOTOSURF A3100 is the company's closest analog to the iPhone and relies primarily on its 2.8-inch, 320x240 for the bulk of its input; a new customizable front end provides quick access to calling or Facebook as well as live updates of messaging and weather. A trackball provides input without having to resort to the available stylus. or when a finger is too imprecise.
The cellphone maker also promises a feature set not far off from Apple's with full 7.2Mbps HSUPA-based 3G, assisted GPS and Wi-Fi. A 3-megapixel back camera, a front VGA camera for video calls, and support for microSDHC up to 32GB differentiate it from its challenger. The MOTOSURF hinges on Windows Mobile 6.1 for its interface and uses Microsoft's platform for media playback.
Motorola promises the A3100 for "multiple markets" within the first three months of the year but doesn't mention carriers or plans. However, the device supports the 850MHz band for both calling and 3G and is likely to be made available in North America.
Accompanying this flagship, the W233 Renew is considered a budget but completely eco-friendly phone; the plastic housing is made entirely of recycled water bottles and is entirely recyclable. Its box is also made solely from recycled paper, while Motorola volunteers to offset the carbon footprint left by manufacturing the device. The phone itself is a basic dual-band GSM phone with no camera and only a regular microSD slot that holds up to 2GB for the phone's quick-access media player.
Motorola only points to a generic winter release date, though official shots and leaks have confirmed a T-Mobile USA launch in the near future.
A final phone, the VA76r Tundra, is explicitly built for AT&T and its push-to-talk network. The clamshell is ruggedized to the US military's 810F standards for weatherproofing and shock but still includes mainstream features like a 2-megapixel camera, media playback (including AT&T Music) and video capture. It supports 3G over HSPA and also supplies GPS. AT&T will carry the phone on January 13th for $200 after a rebate and signing a two-year contract.