Motorola's New Phones Are Nice Things in Ugly Packages

Motorola is rolling out three new handsets that'll be available in the next few months. While the concepts are relatively up-to-date (eco-friendliness, military ruggedness, touchscreens), why did Motorola choose designs from 2002?

The Renew W233, a bright yellow candybar, is allegedly the first phone made from recycled water bottles. It also costs 20% less to manufacture, has a carbon neutral footprint, and a Motorola promise to invest in renewable energy programs. Great, except ugly phones are a tough sell to even the most dedicated of environmentalists.

The Tundra VA76r is a military-spec, rugged PTT clamshell. It comes with CrystalTalk Plus, which uses a second microphone to filter out and reduce background noise, as well as a 2MP camera, stereo Bluetooth, aGPS and support for a 4GB microSD card. I guess ruggedized phones aren't supposed to be the prettiest things, but seeing the same design rehash from last year is boring.

The Surf A3100 is a touch-based replacement for Motorola's Ming. It'll have a 2.8-inch display, quad-band GSM/EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and two cameras—a 3MP with autofocus and a secondary VGA for videophoning, as well as support up to 32GB microSD cards. The catch is, it's only coming to Asia. Motorola has spoken, and it's said the U.S. cain't have nuthin' nice. [Phonescoop]