Motorola just bet the house on Android and social networking

motorola-cliqOn stage live at GigaOm’s Mobilize 09 conference, Motorola just unveiled a large part of its comeback strategy (there seems to be a lot of “comebacks” in the handset market at the moment) based on a new smartphone powered by Android, the Google-led mobile OS, featuring a custom UI that puts social networking at its heart.

The phone, to be called the Motorola Cliq and offered exclusively on T-Mobile in the US, and the Motorola Dext in Europe, features 3G, WiFi, a 3.1 inch touch screen, slide-out landscape keyboard, and 5 megapixel camera, amongst its specs.

The big sell, however, is the new UI that Motorola has built on top of Android and an accompanying synchronization and backup service, both dubbed Motoblur. The combined offering “is the first and only solution to sync contacts, posts, messages, photos and much more—from sources such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gmail, work and personal e-mail, and LastFM—and automatically deliver it to the home screen”. Or so the company claims.

If that all sounds similar to the custom Android work that HTC have recently done with the HTC Hero or Palm’s Synergy, or to a lesser extent, Nokia’s home screen widget approach on the N97 or much of the overall philosophy behind handset upstart INQ, it’s because it is. While Motorola are probably onto something with Motoblur, so is much of the rest of the industry.

The social web, as I’ve argued many times before, is the killer app for mobile data. And Motorola just bet the house on it.

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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “Motorola just bet the house on Android and social networking”

  1. The phone looks pretty cool compared to the Android phones HTC is churning out. A social networking skin will appeal to the younger crowd. With a (hopefully) $99 price point, it should be a hit.