AirTyme, which is basically a mobile phone distributor, has come up with its own line of mobile phones for the Indian market, and one of them is Airtyme Flaunt. This device earlier known as Sharp PV 300 and was sold as T-Mobile (a mobile operator) Sidekick LX in USA in 2009.
The phone retains its quality of construction, which is better than any other mobile phone sold in India with a price tag below Rs 5,000. On top of that it is a 3G phone with a large screen and a Qwerty keyboard that is well designed and is easy to use.
However, the goodness of the phone ends there. Airtyme Flaunt has an operating system, Danger, which is dead and discontinued. In its hey days this operating system was one of the first to have its own app store, much before the Android came into picture and was backed by cloud service operated by Microsoft, which also bought Danger OS in 2008 and later closed it.
The Sidekick series with Danger OS was started in 2002 and ended with this phone in the year 2009. The support for this OS completely shut down in May 2011, leaving this phone too late in the Indian market as now it does not have any application support whatsoever.
So much so that even the Opera Mini browser that it comes with can’t be upgraded. In its current form, it is a waste of money. Other than the good build quality and high speed 3G connectivity, only disappointments are awaiting the buyers of this phone.
Specifications and Form factor
Airtyme Flaunt has 3G (HSPA) and also GPS support. It comes with a 3.2 inch FWVGA (854 x 480-pixel) LCD screen that is good in quality, in fact still one of the best in the price bracket. It also comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera with a single LED flash and again the quality is very good for a camera with the resolution.
The phone is very bulky and is in fact bigger than even the Samsung Galaxy S which has a much bigger 4.0 inch screen. Airtyme Flaunt comes with the dimensions of 130 x 60 x 15.9 mm compared to the 122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9 mm dimension of Galaxy S. It is much heavier too weighing 164 grams compared to 119 Grams of Galaxy.
The screen of the phone opens with a swivel action to reveal the full Qwerty keypad beneath. The swivel mechanism is sturdy with steel hinges and is also very stylish, however to dial a number you have to open the keypad and then you have to close it to take a call (if you are not using handsfree) and that is really a bad design. The phone is full of buttons – apart from the keypad, you have two keys on the left side flanking the D-pad which also has the speaker grill. On the right side, there are four keys two on each side of the track-ball.
Being based on an unknown (to Indians) operating system and moreover due to buttons that have slightly unknown symbols on them, users would need some time before get used. The left side of the phone has volume rocker just below the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power button on the other end. The other side has two buttons on both ends that acts as camera shutter button as well as track change buttons when in media player mode. Sitting at the back side top right corner is the 3.0 megapixel camera along with LED flash. Sharp branding is visible everywhere from the back panel to the pouch and the battery.
This phone looks more like a handheld gaming device than a phone, and with full assortment of buttons well place for a gaming device but it is sad that the phone doesn’t have any games thanks to the dead OS for which nobody develops anything anymore.
Also there are few more surprising and disappointing points. Airtyme Flaunt comes with a GPS chip but does not have any maps, nor can you use Google Maps as it doesn’t support the OS. It has push mail capability but no mail client to use this capability. It supports Microsoft Exchange server as well but again there is no client and the worst part you can’t download it either.
And this adds to frustration as you know that you have a device which is capable of so many things but doesn’t actually support as there is no application. The phone has a powerful processor for a feature phone with 528 MHz Qualcomm unit.
There is nothing much that you can do with this phone, as this is a phone that best performed when served by a Cloud based service environment and when there used to be an application store for it.
The Danger OS which served the Sidekick users of T-Mobile for over eight years is long dead after the Sidekick cloud server of Microsoft crashed in 2009, resulting in data loss to thousands of users. Now even basic support is not available for the OS. In fact, there is no download option available in this phone.
Even Opera Mini browser that comes pre-installed cannot be upgraded. You get just one game with it called Bob’s journey, and it is not of much fun after all it was developed before 2009. The media player is nice though with simple controls.
The OS has very easy to use icons appearing in a semi circle in left corner and you can scroll though using the trackball. On the left top (when holding the horizontally) is the setting button which will open according to the menu option you are in.
The speaker of the phone is very weak but clear, while the 1250 mAH battery provides close to 2 days backup.
Connectivity wise, you have 3G and Bluetooth (A2DP) however there is no WiFi which is disappointing. 3G however is the saving grace of the phone and since Opera Mini is the default browser, most of the web applications work fine on the phone.
However since no downloads are allowed, even the Opera Mini will become old and useless pretty soon. What is worse that there is no FM radio. There is an IM client though but it is just an instant messenger and not social networking. Though IM is well laid out with a well designed keypad, it is very helpful in chatting and it supports Yahoo, Gtalk, MSN and AOL.
If Airtyme Flaunt was launched in 2009 along with its application store and cloud service, it would have scored 7 out of 10. But this is 2011 and Android phones are cheaper faster and slimmer and comes with Google services on top of that. Besides, this phones’ OS is long dead without even a trace of it remain (except with few phones that Airtyme might have managed to sell). It does not support basic stuffs like Google Map, an email client, or a few applications that even a Rs 2,000 phone supports.
This phone is a total waste of money as it will frustrate you with the fact that it has a hardware that supports even GPS and Push mail, but doesn’t have the software to do so. And I am afraid that Airtyme do not have desire and power to resurrect the OS by providing applications for this platform.
My advice stay away from this phone, wait for their Android phone. If this phones quality is anything to go by, Airtyme’s Android will be better than most low cost makers. The phone costs Rs 4,999 which is justified given the hardware, but since most of this hardware is useless, this price seems way too high.