Thursday, February 09, 2006

What happened to... #1 The Motorola MPX

Whatever happened to the Motorola MPX? Well nothing obviously. There are rumours that it was launched on the Asian market, in Malaysia and some other small countries, but as far as I know, nobody has imported any. In early 2004, the Motorola MPX was going to be THE phone to buy, bar none. At the time the closest thing was the HTC Himalaya (the XDA II), and the HTC Blue Angel was a twinkle in HTCs eye. So where did it all go wrong?

First, lets look at the specs of the machine that crushed the dreams of gadget junkies around the world:
Most obviously, it has a fantastic dual-hinge mechanism, that lets you open it like a conventional clamshell phone, or if you close it and re-open it, like a communicator. The Nokia N92 does this now, but the MPX was 2 years ahead. Once opened, you have an impressive QWERTY keyboard, with numbers displayed at an angle - depending on which way you open it, it activates the entire keypad, or in the phone position, just the numeric keypad. Pure genius.

It was also (I believe) the first phone with integrated WiFi (802.11b - the slow one) It had a classic 320 x 240 LCD touchscreen displaying 65,000 colours, suprisingly reasonable battery life, a 1.3 Megapixel camera (gasp!), an SD card slot, Bluetooth, and of course it ran Windows Mobile Pocket PC 2003.

The major major letdown is the onboard memory - a ridiculously poor 32Mb RAM, 32 Mb ROM - and it was a little heavy at around 180g. I still feel that if they upped the RAM, it could still make an impression on the market - but only just. 2 years ago, it would have killed everything dead. Without a doubt, the best phone Moto have EVER made.

So what went wrong? Well, no-one really knows for sure. One story goes along the lines of China banning the use of unapproved WiFi devices, and Motorola pulling the MPX from the market (and refusing to remove the WiFi). Some say that the dual-hinge couldn't stand up to real world usage. Other people think that maybe it was just a bit too OTT for the communicator marketplace at that time. But if you want, check out what devices your network had in 2004. It just doesn't compare.



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