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Motorola’s Tough Defy And Sexy Motoluxe Set For March Launch

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Motorola hasannounced two Android-powered smartphones, but only one of them is coming to UK

Motorola has announced two smartphones to be released in Europe at the beginning of March: a four-inch Motoluxe XT615 in the UK and Germany, and a tough Defy Mini XT320 – initially only in the German market.

The Motoluxe is an entry-level phone with a surprisingly large screen, running Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread with addition of the MotoSwitch user interface. Its cousin Defy Mini is a smaller, low-cost handset designed to survive a lot of abuse and neglect.

Small price, big features

Motoluxe is a good-looking smartphone, encased in brushed metal and plastic. It has a four-inch screen capable of 480×854 pixel resolution, weighs just 122 grams, and is 9.8mm thick.

Inside the Motoluxe is an 800 MHz Qualcomm processor, supported by 512 MB of RAM. Pictures can be taken with an eight megapixel rear camera with LED flash, which is complemented by a front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera. The phone is powered by the rapidly-ageing Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread.

Instead of a “missed call” notification in the top right corner of the screen, as found in the majority of smartphones, Motoluxe features an icon at the bottom of the screen that lights up when users have missed a call, received a text or have an email waiting. This, in combination with other design decisions, lends the phone a unique look.

In addition to Android Market apps, the MotoSwitch user interface throws in several Motorola-specific applications. The Social Graph keeps your friends close, and lets you contact them quickly. The Activity Graph is a collection of recently used apps, which updates automatically, and aspires to tailor itself to user’s needs. Music Now is a piece of software that helps find new songs and albums, while Smart Gallery keeps pictures in order.

Motoluxe offers Bluetooth and GPS support, and a microSD card slot, which means memory can be expanded by up to 32GB. The phone will be available in the beginning of March, and is expected to cost around £250.

Defiance

As for the rugged Defy Mini, it is dust-proof, water-resistant and scratch-resistant. The phone features a 3.2-inch display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass, and is powered by a 600 MHz processor. Just like Motoluxe, it runs Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread. The 3.15 megapixel rear camera with LED flash is not going to amaze, but it should be sufficient for quick everyday snaps.

Phone users who like the idea of a smartphone that could survive the apocalypse, could do worse than consider the Defy Mini – even if that means importing it from Germany. The phone is expected to cost around €200 (£170) when it is released.