Posts Tagged ‘Motorola’

Review: Motorola Milestone (Droid)

When Motorola unveiled its Droid smartphone in the US, it was critically acclaimed and hailed by many as the Android smartphone to beat at the time and, of course, like any high end touchscreen smartphone, branded as a potential iPhone contender.

The story this side of the pond, where it was released as the Motorola Milestone, couldn’t be more different, however.  It, as far as I can tell, hasn’t been picked up by any of the UK carriers to be sold with subsidy and instead can be picked up in its unlocked, unbranded form only. I’ve had the device on-loan for a while now and I have to say, for such a capable and in many respects rock-solid offering, the Milestone sure has divided opinion amongst friends and colleagues.

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Motorola unveils Android-powered landline phone, lacks Skype or Google's app store


At this year’s CeBit, Motorola showed off a cordless landline telephone running Google’s Android operating system, as reported by Engadget earlier this month. Known as the HS1001, the device is built by Binatone, and is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year with a price tag of $150. The hardware sports a 2.8″ touch screen and loud-speaker. And as you’d expect, the handset uses DECT technology, but surprisingly, it also has WiFi.

The phone won’t carry the Android market place, however, or even have Skype installed, though you’ll still be able to access email and browse the web just as with any other Android phone.

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Review: Motorola DEXT / CLIQ – another social networking play with MotoBLUR

dextIt seems that 2009 is the year of the comeback handset. Palm saw its Second Coming with the Palm Pre (review). Sony Ericsson relaunched with the Symbian-powered Satio (for what good that did them) and a new slogan. And Motorola, after years in hibernation and having completely missed the smartphone boat, unveiled its first Android-powered device, the Motorola DEXT as it’s known in Europe or CLIQ in the states.

The DEXT isn’t just any old Android handset, either. Shunning the standard out-of-the-box Google OS experience, the device introduces MotoBLUR, the handset maker’s own social networking UI layer and service. A unified address book that syncs Google, Facebook and Twitter contacts, updates pushed to the home screen, support for photo sharing via various third-party sites, with all of a user’s settings and data backed up on Motorola’s own servers.

It’s closest in its thinking to Palm’s Synergy feature, but also reminiscent of INQ, HTC’s Sense, Vodafone 360, with a bit of Nokia’s Ovi Share thrown in. In fact, as 2009 draws to a close, social networking integration is fast becoming just another tick-box requirement rather than a headline feature outright. On the other hand, no one has yet to perfect the concept, Motorola included, so there’s still plenty to play for. But before we dive into MotoBLUR, let’s take a look at the phone’s hardware.

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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.

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Blockbuster VOD service to land on Motorola handsets sometime in the future

This one feels a lot like a non-announcement, although technically it’s actually a pre-announcement.

Bricks ‘n’ mortar video rental chain Blockbuster is teaming up with Motorola in the U.S. to deliver its video-on-demand service to the handset maker’s future devices. Future being the operative word here as we don’t yet know when or on what phones, although it’s likely that the service will utilize Blockbuster’s recent partnership with Sonic Solutions, owners of the video download store CinemaNow, whose technology is already compatible with a range of mobile devices.

See also: Dan Rayburn: 10 years on Blockbuster still lacks a digital strategy

The fact that both Blockbuster and Motorola aren’t in the best of shape with regards to their respective markets won’t been lost on many, with Gizmodo’s Joanna Stern summing it up nicely: “I think it is romantic when two companies can hold each other in tough times.” Tough times indeed, although I’m skeptical that this partnership will do much for either companies’ bottom line.

Google's big bet: Android beyond the cellphone

Much of the iPod’s success, says Steve Jobs, is down to the fact that Japanese consumer electronics companies don’t produce elegant software. He makes the same accusation of handset makers too. They can do hardware but they “just can’t seem to get the software right.” Enter Android, Google’s open source OS, which although explicitly designed to deliver better software for Internet-connected cellphones, will also soon find its way onto all manner of devices.

“Over the last few weeks I have learned that numerous companies are tinkering with Android in an attempt to get the OS to power a whole slew of gadgets — everything from set-top boxes to navigation systems to mobile Internet devices to smart picture frames”, reports Om Malik.

Motorola have already confirmed that it has at least one Android-powered handset in the pipeline, but the company is also a major player in the television set-top box space and is said to be exploring the potential of Android in the living room too. Malik also says he’s heard from “fairly reliable sources” that two large PC makers are experimenting with Android-based Internet devices. None of which I find surprising. From both a technical and business point of view, Google has laid the foundations for Android to move quickly beyond its cellphone roots and, the company hopes, eventually become a ubiquitous platform.

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Will Android be Motorola's savior? Company confirms its interest in Google's mobile OS

This comes as no shock, and it just might save Motorola’s cell phone hide.

According to BetaNews, Motorola has confirmed it is working on a new phone that utilizes Google’s mobile operating system Android. It’s no surprise because Motorola was a founding member of the Google-led Open Handset Alliance.

“We’re excited about the innovation possibilities on Android, and (we) look forward to delivering great products in partnership with Google and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA),” Motorola said in a statement.

Since the announcement of Android at the end of last year, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and LG Electronics all have been rumored to be interested in manufacturing an Android handset. HTC is the first to deliver an Android phone, the G1, which will be available later this month and sold by T-Mobile in the U.S.

Other handset manufacturers have laid low, however, keeping their Android plans quiet. For its part, Motorola has been working diligently to solve its ailing cell phone business. Earlier this year it decided to spin off its troubled cell phone division from the rest of the company.

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Report: HTC's Android-powered "Google phone" may be delayed after all

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Developing a phone — even if it is just an operating system — is not something you do overnight with a bunch of cajoled software developers.

Just a week after High Tech Computer (HTC) said it was on schedule to deliver Android-powered cell phones by the 4Q of 2008, another report surfaces Thursday that says HTC is “having structural problems to incorporate Google’s demand feature set” and “demanding a guaranteed minimum revenue surety from Google,” according to Barron’s Tech Trader Daily.

Barron’s picked up a research note from Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research saying his “contacts” contend that HTC’s Android handset — the so-called Google phone — will be delayed until the first quarter of 2009.

Additionally, Chowdhry’s “contacts” tell him that another problem Google is having is attracting software developers to the platform. They’re too busy writing code for Windows Mobile, Nokia (Symbian), Research in Motion (BlackBerry), and Apple’s iPhone.

That’s no surprise. These guys actually have phones, real working phones, to develop for and test.

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Motorola launches movie store for cellphones, but will anybody bite?

Motorola launches movie store for cellphones, but will anybody bite?Amid all the iPhone 2.0 hype, we missed the news last week that Motorola has launched a full-length movie store for its mobile phones. Before you ask: “Who wants to watch a feature film on their tiny cellphone screen, anyway?” Here are a few of the details.

The service is available first in the UK-only, but will eventually extend to France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The catalog is currently restricted to forty titles from one studio — Paramount Digital Entertainment — including “The Italian Job”, “Star Trek” and “Team America: World Police”, priced at between £5.99 and £8.99 per movie.

Unsurprisingly, movies can’t be downloaded ‘over-the-air’ directly to handsets but instead the service requires “side-loading” whereby content is downloaded to a PC first and then transfered onto a mobile phone. Motorola says this is so that customers avoid potentially expensive data charges but it also means that the service can bypass carriers who may offer a competing service. Users will still need to be able to connect their phones to the Internet, however, as each side-loaded movie has to have its DRM certificate verified online, and each device must be registered with Motorola’s store.

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Mobile OS wars heat up as Verizon joins LiMo Foundation, a Google-Android rival

VerizonHere’s an interesting jab at Google and its mobile operating system Android: Verizon, the No. 2 U.S. carrier, is joining the LiMo Foundation because it has software and phones available, Google does not.

LiMo FoundationThe LiMo Foundation, representing Linux Mobile, is the lesser known of the mobile operating systems. There’s Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, supplying many makers of smart phones; Symbian, supplier mostly to Nokia; Qualcomm, supplier mostly to Verizon; upstart Google, and Apple. Then there’s Linux Mobile, slowly creeping along by adding devices mostly in Europe and Asia.

The LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation is a consortium of companies well vested in the mobile industry: Motorola, Samsung, LG Electronics, Vodaphone, NTT DoCoMo, and many others. Verizon is the first U.S. carrier to join the LiMo initiative, which now has 40 members worldwide.

The idea behind LiMo is to build a standardized, Linux-based mobile platform, which members can customize to meet their needs. For the most part, Linux Mobile is a competitor to Android, which is not yet available on any handsets. Linux Mobile is showing up on phones from Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, and LG.

Kyle Malady, vice president of network for Verizon, said in a conference call today that he expects Verizon to sell both regular devices and smart phones using mobile Linux next year.

“We expect that Linux Mobile will rapidly become our preferred operating system,” Malady said to The Associated Press [via The New York Times] . “As the development community looks at how best to bring new applications to the marketplace, they should check out LiMo and Linux Mobile first.”

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