U.S. cell service provider and Apple iPhone partner AT&T stepped into the Google Android world with the addition of the Motorola Backflip to its mobile phone lineup.
Like other Android-based phones, the Backflip includes a touch-based interface, but also sports a built-in physical keyboard and a "table top mode." Unlike Google's own Nexus One smartphone, however, Motorola dropped its own user interface on top of the Android OS.
While the Backflip's design won't likely lead to lower iPhone sales, the phone gives AT&T customers an Android-based option, potentially keeping at least some of its subscribers looking for an Android-based phone from moving to Verizon or T-Mobile.
AT&T also gets to keep its exclusive iPhone deal with Apple, and since the Backflip doesn't seem to be as compelling as the Nexus One, Apple's iPhone sales figures at AT&T will probably won't miss a beat.
[Thanks to PC World for the heads up.]