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Motorola E680i

 Motorola E680i front Discontinued.
30th March 2005

Let's get something out of the way here.. the Motorola E680i is an impressive handset. Running an embedded version of Linux, with a large 240x320 pixel touch sensitive display and with expandable memory up to 2Gb, the E680i is certainly one of the smarter smartphones on the block.

However, those readers with long memories will recognise this handset right away - it's the Motorola E680 slightly.. and we do mean very slightly warmed over. Cast your mind back a whole year to March 2004, and the E680 was announced with some fanfare and pretty much the same feature set as the E680i. And then.. nothing. The Motorola E680 failed to hit the streets in any significant numbers, and although a few handsets trickled out through specialist retailers, it was a complete flop. Was it the fault of the phone? Nope, more likely huge delays in getting the product to market combined with woeful marketing.

 Motorola E680i back So, the E680i is a second stab at the market with basically the same handset. The screen, camera and basic hardware platform is essentially unchanged. That means the E680i has Bluetooth, 3D graphics acceleration, 3D audio playback and a VGA resolution camera. There are some improvements though - it seems that the E680i can support stereo playback via Bluetooth, it has a much faster processor than the E680 and can be expanded to twice the memory. However, the VGA resolution camera is a real throwback in specification terms, and SD memory is an odd choice in the Motorola lineup of devices that almost exclusively use microSD/TransFlash cards. There's an FM radio included in the E680i too.

According to Motorola, the software has been enhanced too, with better productivity tools. The E680i can also play back a variety of media types, including MP3 audio and MPEG4 video. Combined with the 2Gb maximum memory and good audio playback facilities, then it's clear that the E680i is a pretty good music player, but it's nowhere near as sexy as the Sony Ericsson W800. You can use the E680i in either landscape or portrait modes, and it looks promising as a games platform, assuming that any games are adapted for it.

It's a little disappointing in connectivity terms - this is a tri-band GSM phone with GPRS only, with no EDGE, 3G or WiFi support. It's not a small phone - it weighs over 130 grams - and frankly we'd expect to see better features in a handset this size.

As we said - this is a good handset, but it's the phone that should have hit the market last year. By tweaking a few features and sticking an "i" on the end of the name, Motorola hope to have a second chance with the E680i. Whether the marketplace will give them that second chance remains to be seen. Motorola state that the E680i should be available from the second quarter of 2005.

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Motorola E680i Provisional Specifications


Q2 2005


Tri-band GSM




240x320 pixels, 65,000 colours


640x480 pixels (0.3 megapixels)


PDA style handset
109x54x21mm / 135 grams approx









Battery life:

3 hours talk / 8 days standby


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