Motorola, on a comeback trail, has launched the Motorola Fire, a 3G Android touch-cum-qwerty phone that can only be described as disruptive technology at an irrestible price.
There are, of course cheap Android phones etc., but usually they come from a new or unheard of brand and extract a price in terms of quality, design etc..
But coming from Motorola, the Fire is nothing like it.
Launched just a few days ago, the most attractive part about the Motorola fire, given its high end features, is the price — Rs 9,000 (available on online stores such as Letsbuy, Flipkart etc..)
While there are many other Android phones that are even cheaper (starting at around Rs 5,500), the Fire is by far the cheapest Android phone with a physical qwerty (or even non-qwerty) keypad.
To get to the next Android qwerty phone, you have to go all the way up to Rs 12,000, where you find the Acer beTouch E210.
Unfortunately, despite costing 33% more, the Acer beTouch E210 fails to stand up to the Motorola Fire. The beTouch has a resistive screen (pressure-based), while the Motorola Fire has a capacitive (charge-based) touch-screen.
The beTouch has a 2.6 inch display, while the Fire has a 2.8 inch display. The Motorola Fire also has more professional, less-cramped looking (blackberry-type) keypad.
beTouch also has the older Android 2.2 version, while the Motorola Fire has the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread on it.
Most of the other features are the same, whether it is the 3 megapixel camera or 7.2 Mbps 3G or the 600-MHz processor, graphics processor or half a GB of RAM.
To find true competitors for the Motorola Fire, one has to go all the way up to the Rs 15,000 price-band.
Here, the HTC ChaCha and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro SK17i (both priced around Rs 15,400) of the trust of a brand, 3G, physical qwerty keypads and Android.
However, the price is 70% higher than that of the Motorola Fire, though they also come with faster (1 GHz) processor. In case of the ChaCha, the screen-size is smaller (2.6 inch vs 2.8 inch for the Fire), while for the Sony Ericsson Pro SK17i, it is a 3 inch display.
The only other challenge that the Motorola Fire faces is from non-Android phones, namely the Nokia E5 (price Rs 9,200) and the Blackberry Curve 3G 9300 (Rs 13,500).
However, both phones have half the RAM (application memory) that the Motorola Fire has and neither have touch-screens.
In addition, both have much smaller displays than the Motorola Fire. For example, despite being cheaper and supporting touch, the Fire’s display is around 40% bigger than that of the Nokia E5’s and 15% bigger than that of the HTC ChaCha.
In many ways, the Motorola Fire is like the new Blackberry Bold 9900 — it’s got the same display size, very similar form-factor and looks (including the keypad), but falls short in raw power. But while the Bold 9900 is priced at Rs 32,000 ($700), the Motorola Fire is priced at Rs 9,000 ($200).
There is of course one missing feature in the Motorola Fire — it has no front camera, which means you cannot do face to face video calling unless you are standing in front of a mirror.
Of course, neither the Blackberry Curve 3G 9300 nor the Nokia E5 nor the Acer beTouch has a front-camera. But the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini SK17i does have it.
But if you are looking for a physical keypad-enabled low cost, enterprise, email and texting friendly Android phone with a large touch-display, it is tough to beat the Motorola Fire.
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