Motorola's old PEBL which featured an internal antenna cast in Liquidmetal has had a makeover: It is now called the U9.
What we have with the Motorola U9 is a lightweight clamshell phone with a 2 megapixel camera, microSD expandable memory and a touch sensitive external display.
On the outside of the shiny, curvy shell of the U9 is a 2 megapixel camera and a 1.4" 128x160 pixel touch-sensitive OLED display.
Inside is a 2.0" 240x320 pixel TFT display, plus a much improved keypad with raised ridges to make it easier to use.
Overall, the Motorola U9 measures 90 x 49 x 16mm and weighs only 88 grams, which is considerably lighter than the RAZR2, this is at least partly to do with the smaller display panels on the U9.
The "touch sensitivity" on the external display is limited to multimedia functions, in the same way as the RAZR2. Even so, it's a very nice feature to have, and from Motorola's publicity shots it does appear that the screen is seamlessly integrated into the U9's smooth exterior.
Multimedia support on the U9 appears to be very good, with a music player that supports WMA, MP3 and AAC plus DRM. It can also play back MPEG4, 3GPP and h.263 video. Internal memory is a pretty limited 25MB, but this can be expanded by up to 4GB using a microSD card. The U9 also has stereo Bluetooth.
Motorola say that they've given the U9's software a makeover with a new user interface. Another enhancement is that the U9 can be synchronised with Windows Media Player, which will make it easier to manage music tracks.
Like a lot of Motorolas, the U9 is a quad-band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 device with GPRS and EDGE data. This isn't a 3G phone, but we suspect that there will be a scaled up 3G version sometime in the near future.
Assuming that this isn't too expensive, then there's not much to fault with the Motorola U9. If you're in the market for a non-3G compact music clamshell phone, then the U9 certainly seems to deliver everything you might need. The glossy, curved exterior is certainly a welcome release from the endless RAZR remixes. In fact, the only thing we can really fault is the name.. we did assume that this would be called the "PEBL2", but instead it seems to be called just the "U9".http://www.mobilegazette.com/motorola-u9-07x10x11.htm