AT&T's Android Moves Boost Motorola

Motorola (s mot) got a much-needed lift this morning with the news that AT&T (s t) will begin selling its Android (s goog) -based Backflip handset next month. The carrier will finally join the crowded Android bandwagon March 7 with the release of the gadget, which rocks a 3.1-inch color touchscreen, Wi-Fi, 7.2 HSPA technology and the Motoblur interface. The gadget, which is the first of five Android handsets AT&T plans to release by June, will sell for $100 with the usual two-year contract and $100 rebate.

The move is a welcome boost for Motorola, which has struggled in recent weeks following Verizon Wireless’s (s vz) successful launch of the Droid. “Motorola’s coming out party appears to be short lived as the success of Nexus One has impacted Motorola’s share at Verizon,” Ashok Kumar of Northeast Securities wrote in a research note yesterday before AT&T’s announcement. “Due to weaker sell through, we are beginning to set negative revisions to production targets. Refresh of the Android platform from HTC, LG, and Samsung will add to competitive pressures later on in the year.”

AT&T’s move could be especially beneficial if the carrier opts to heavily market the device, as Verizon did with the Droid. But Motorola will have to move quickly to leverage its status as the only Android device on the nation’s second-largest carrier before AT&T rolls out other Android handsets in coming months.

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Images courtesy AT&T.