Oct 01 AT 1:03 AM Taylor Wimberly 23 Comments

How low can Android go? Meet the Verizon Motorola Ciena

The Kyocera Zio might have competition as the cheapest Android phone. We just received the full specs for Motorola’s upcoming Ciena (formerly Citrus) on Verizon and it looks about as low-end as you can go, yet still be able to run Android.

Motorola has constantly said they want to bring Android down the ladder into feature phone territory and the Ciena appears to have accomplished that. I have not been able to confirm the price, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ciena debut for free on 2-year contract or sub $200 at the unsubsidized price.

So what is the Ciena packing? It features a 3.0 inch QVGA display (120 dpi), 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7625 CPU, 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM, and a 3 megapixel camera (fixed focal length, no flash). The Ciena will ship with Android 2.1 running a semi-Motoblur skin, but will lack all the social messaging tie-ins. This device also features the BackTrack rear trackpad, similar to the Backflip and Charm.

Missing from the Ciena is an ambient light sensor and vibrate notifications. I only mention this because Google’s Android 2.1 Compatibility Definition Document (PDF) says “Device implementers MUST provide support for each class of notification so defined; specifically: sounds, vibration, light and status bar.

Update: I also discovered the Ciena only has 100 MB user storage – another violation of the Android 2.1 CDD. “Device implementations MUST have at least 150MB of non-volatile storage available for user data. That is, the /data partition must be at least 150MB.

Normally when devices don’t meet the requirements found in Google’s CDD, they are not certified and do not gain access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) like Gmail and Android Market. Google has been known to bend the rules for certain hardware partners so it could still feature the Android Market, but I have been unable to confirm this.

An old leaked Verizon roadmap claimed the Ciena (WX445) was supposed to launch in September, but obviously that didn’t happen. We hear that Verizon is currently evaluating this device and it has yet to get the green light, so either it launches in October or they pull the plug on it.

The beauty of Android is that’s it is open source and device implementers can do whatever the heck they want with it, but Google still maintains a set of rules (the CDD) that define which devices are blessed with their services. It will be interesting to see if the Ciena actually gets certified or Verizon ships it without Google’s services (which I find hard to believe, but who knows).

What do you guys think about the Motorola Ciena? Do we need phones this low-end or might it give Android a bad image? I think it’s great that customers have more options to choose from, but the total cost of ownership for most Android phones is usually defined by the 2-year contract with data services. Do you think you could recommend the Ciena to a friend or would you need to get your hands on one first?

Via: Images from Engadget

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • guitarfreak846

    This is only going to make first impressions of Android completely awful.

  • http://Website Dexter

    Chinese crap.

  • http://Website Mike

    Well, isn’t Verizon releasing their own app store? And since they seem to be putting Bing on all their new phones I could see this releasing without gapps. Bing as search and the garbage(in my opinion) Verizon apps such as navigator, market (if they do make it), etc. Really sad to see such an amazing and capable OS being manhandled by Motoizon and turned in to utter trash like is being done to new phones.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      It could have the VZW app store, but I don’t think that is ready yet.

    • http://Website Hans

      Not all of Verizon’s phones will have Bing. Only non-Droid phones.

    • http://Website CDMA-hole

      > And since they seem to be putting Bing on all their new phones

      One phone. One. Not all of their future offerings. Just on that one.
      Because how much sense does it make to have Google operating system phones that don’t default to Google? (I don’t get it how that exception happened either.)

  • andymitty

    Low-end?! This phone has better specs than my poor old MyTouch!

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      No, actually this CPU has less features from what I read about it.

    • http://Website Daniel

      Indeed, in some areas this phone is actually better than the Dream and Magic. Slower CPU shouldn’t be so much of a problem, particularly if you get 2.2 and its JIT. I say as a G1 owner that memory is usually a far bigger bottleneck than CPU, and even though the GPU on this phone must suck, it might perform better than the first phones simply due to the lower-resolution screen (which, by those numbers, is 133 DPI, btw, not 120).

      The CDD issues are quite serious, though. Not simply due to formalism, but because vibration is a given on ANY phone these days (seriously, this one has to be a misunderstanding!?) and little storage might become a hurdle for users really quick, as we G1 owners know.

  • http://Website Alan

    I just purchased what is the cheapest android phone available for £70,

    800×480 OLED 3.5 Capasitive touchscreen (possibly 3.2)
    3.1 Mega pixel camera
    600MHz CPU (Same one thats in the HTC Ledgend I belive_
    It has a at least 130mb free at start (more than nexus and desire)
    Wi-fi bluetooth fm radio

    All y our standard stuff, Runs 2.1 be deafualt, but will soon be running a ASOP 2.2.1 build :)

  • http://Website sgb101

    Not all people can afford a top end phone or a contract so I think there is a place for them.

    Plus now children can get on the android scene and start a new wave of bedroom androids coders. Otherwise they will end up on itouches and will go down the dark side ;-)

  • http://droidandroidgames.com/ AndroidGames

    Low end phones like that are a must to get bigger market share, but phones with specs like that risk being without market and other good stuff google provides. Since it’s motorola I think there is nothing to worry about, there will be android market as google will make an exception for them, motorola was the first manufacturer to make android phones sell as successfully as iphone (droid).

  • http://Website thehaggis

    This would be perfect for my mother-in-law. She doesn’t need all the bells and whistles, but i want something easily compatible with our Droid X’s.

  • http://Website Yossarian

    It’s still has a better processor than the Motorola i1 which is “up to” 500MHz. I think if they decide to release it they will do it as a prepaid offering. That way they can justify the low end specs.

  • http://Website jo

    still better than the g1/magic …

  • http://Website omgjoz

    This phone will give Android a bad rep to new users.

  • http://Website unknown

    Lookd like the cliq has some competition.

  • http://Website Head

    the samsung fascinate comes without support for light notifications but is certified by google I don’t think they push these requirements and all this crap about verizon phones being binged out is making a big deal about nothing I had bing off my facinate in about 10 min and all the google apps running fine including google search using the search button any android user competent enough to notice bing will know how to root the phones

  • http://Website Mark

    In the UK Orange have released the San Francisco which has 3.5″ capacitive WVGA (800×280) AMOLED screen and 424MB memory (190MB seems to be accessible to the user) running Android 2.1 and access to the Market. Priced at £99 (circa $150) PAYG (no contract but carrier tied … for now ;)). Just shows that ‘budget’ can actually deliver reasonable specs at reasonable price points with Android (and hopefully puts off people who were planning on releasing Android 1.6 based phones with resistive screens at this price point too).

  • http://Website AB

    “Device implementations MUST have at least 150MB of non-volatile storage available for user data. That is, the /data partition must be at least 150MB.”

    They are referring to 150MB total ROM(OS + data). This device has 100MB usable which will be about 150-200MB since Android 2.1 is at least 60MB.

    • http://Website Daniel

      No, the OS is stored on the /system partition, not /data.

  • http://Website Reach your inner Dufus

    Confirmation from an internal source ;-) the Citrus is going to market. Cannot confirm it’s going to be called the Ciera, no one has ever used that word. Training materials hype the earth friendliness and downplay the memory, processor, and other “let’s make it cheaper even if it’s in defiance of the Google CCD.” Verizon is a big enough player, as the article implied, that these trifles (as well as it not shipping with 2.2 Froyo, what?) can be gotten around.

  • http://Website Jason

    I’d like to see Android be released in the ‘Feature Phone’ market or on the ’3G Multimedia’ list. This might be the beginning to a base OS for all phones!