updated 10:00 am EDT, Tue July 8, 2008
Moto MING A1600 A810
Motorola on Tuesday sought to please both Americans and Chinese at once with three new touchscreen phones. The MOTOMING A1600 and A1800 both continue to share the touchscreen of the earlier A1200 both for handwriting in Cantonese and Mandarin as well as for navigating the interface, but add better media, navigation, and network support. Both have dedicated GPS with a data assist for mapping, a 1GB microSD card preloaded with mainland China maps, and upgraded cameras at either 3.0 megapixels (A1800) or 3.2 (A1600) with digital autofocus.
The A1600 despite its better camera is considered the starter model and connects solely through GSM, but allows the phone to be used in North America with 850MHz band support and EDGE data; the A1800 operates either on CDMA or GSM for support with Sprint, Verizon, and other CDMA-only carriers and also adds a firewall for screening out calls or SMS text messages from certain senders.
Either of the Linux-based handsets comes with software to read business cards and Microsoft Office documents; they should both be available today in China and should be available elsewhere soon.
The A810, also available today, abandons the transparent flip cover of the MING line and is targeted at a more entry-level audience that still wants a touchscreen but with fewer extras. It lacks GPS and scales back to a two-megapixel camera while supporting the same handwriting features of the premium phones along with a native 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to MP3s. Motorola notes that the A810 supports GSM and EDGE but lacks full American support.