Motorola Kicks Off Android Gambit

September 10, 2009

2 Min Read
Motorola Kicks Off Android Gambit

By Tara Seals

Motorola Inc. has unveiled its first Android device, the CLIQ for T-Mobile USA Inc., the first volley in a gambit meant to turn around Moto’s ailing handset division.

Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha made the announcement at GigaOm’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco, noting that a second Android device for the domestic market will follow in time for the holidays. He also said a device called Dext will be available overseas.

The touchscreen CLIQ, which has a slide-out, physical QWERTY keyboard for easy texting, is the first device to come with MOTOBLUR, which is the vendor’s all-in-one service for consolidating and synching social networking information. It brings together in one app Facebook and MySpace status updates, e-mail, Tweets, photos, messages, Yahoo! Mail, Flickr and just about anything else one could think of. It’s also possible to link your friends’ information to a person’s Caller ID, so it’s easier to keep up with their updates as well.

Jha said Thursday that Android provides the kind of multi-tasking graphical OS that smartphones really need – a possible dig at the iPhone, which famously allows only one application to be open at a time. In any event, Android devices are a linchpin to Motorola’s strategy to regain some of its former handset glory. The manufacturer has been suffering ever since the iPhone arrived to knock its best-selling RAZR into the “obsolete” bin: It came late to the table with a touchscreen, for instance.

Amid attempts to spin off the handset division, last year Moto hired Jha, formerly of Qualcomm, to right the ship, and it announced that it would focus on developing to the Android smartphone platform, leveraging the Linux-based OS as a way to cost-effectively innovate while leveraging the Android ecosystem of developers and partners.

No word yet on pricing or final availability date, but additional specs for the CLIQ include: white and titanium casings, 3G and Wi-Fi, a 5-megapixel camera with video capture, a 3.5mm headset jack, MP3 player and a 2GB microSD memory card that can be expanded to 32GB.

It’s also preloaded with an Amazon MP3 store application, plus a Web browser and one-touch access to Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube and Picasa. Access to both personal and corporate e-mail, calendars and contacts is supported by Exchange Server and Gmail. E-mail and contacts are also supported by Yahoo!, Windows Live Hotmail, and other POP3 and IMAP e-mail services. It also combines instant messaging support for Google Talk, as well as AOL, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

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