After years of being known as the carrier that has the iPhone, next week, AT&T will step out of its shell into the world of Android. The number two carrier in the U.S. will launch the Motorola Backflip on March 7th. The smartphone is set to cost $99 with a two year contract.
Initially, what set this phone apart was its interesting form factor and behind the screen trackpad. However, Engadget's Chris Ziegler points out something a little more strange about the Backflip in his hands on video (see below).
"Yahoo has replaced Google as the default search provider throughout the phone. It's crazy: the home screen widget, the browser, everything's been programmed to use Yahoo."
Android is Google's open source operating system. Google search and services are tightly integrated into the OS by default. They are the core of the phone's functionality. However, AT&T decided to go out of their way to strip the search feature and replace it with Yahoo. Yahoo. Not Bing, but Yahoo. There seems to be no way to get a Google search widget on the phone. It's mind-boggling.
Perhaps AT&T has a vendetta against Google. Either way, they're really slapping Google in the face. Taking advantage of a free OS which Google has opened up to the world, and then removing their search functionality from it is a ballsy move. Some rumors even suggest that other AT&T Android phones may have Gmail, Maps, and all other Google services removed. AT&T would then replace them with its own apps.