The DEXT, Motorola's first Android-based smartphone, has been launched yesterday in a rather extravagant launch party held in London, courtesy of the US-based manufacturer and mobile phone operator Orange.
The phone will be available from October for £34.26 on a 24-month contract with 900 anytime any network minutes, inclusive sat nav with Orange maps and unlimited texts.
Interestingly, this is equivalent to the Dolphin 35 package except that the DEXT's package is £5 more expensive and comes with unlimited internet browsing instead of the restrictive 500MB anytime mobile internet browsing quota.
The phone comes with a Qualcomm MSM series chipset running at 528MHz (the same as the HTC range), a 3.1-inch non-multitouch resistive screen capable of displaying 320x480 pixels, a slide out QWERTY keyboard (which has an omnidirectional pad and a full set of keys) together with a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus but no flash or cover.
The DEXT also carries 256MB memory, a 2GB microSD card (it has no onboard storage), a 3.5mm headset socket and comes complete with WiFi access plus assisted GPS. Motorola has used Google's Android platform which comes complete with its own set of applications.
However, it went further by bundling its own user interface on top to differentiate itself from the rest of the competition. The Motoblur UI as it is called has a strong emphasis on social networking. Its "Happenings" feature for example merges together feeds from your friends social networking accounts into a huge river of news.
Motorola will also offer a rather interesting service which will allow punters to remotely erase content on their DEXT if lost, thereby removing the risk of some bad memory trips.
The same service will also allow you to restore your data and your settings seamlessly to a new phone (we presume another DEXT) and we also assume that this service will be free. Apple's iPhone can already do that through MobileMe and Windows Mobile smartphones have Microsoft My Phone.
Motorola will launch more Android phones fairly soon. But it won't be the only one out with brand new models. Apart from the fact that it is fashionably late to the show, there's also a risk that it will get lost amongst the myriad of Android lookalikes that will come before Christmas.