Has Motorola got its mojo back with the its first Android smartphone announced today?
The proof is still a ways off, but today's news of the Motorola Cliq, its first Android smartphone, coming this fall from T-Mobile USA and running the "Motoblur" service, are promising developments.
"What we have today is a Motorola that was left for dead, and it ends up beating the Samsungs and other manufacturers to be second to market with an Android phone behind HTC," said Kevin Burden, an analyst at ABI Research.
"Cliq might put Motorola on track to rebuild its momentum ," Burden added. "One device doesn't make a success, but how they follow this up will decide things."
Burden said it will also help to have T-Mobile selling the device since it was the first carrier in the U.S. to sell Android phones from HTC and has experience with Android customers.
"Except for when the Razr hit a few years ago, Motorola has been stumbling around in the dark," said Jeff Kagan, an independent analyst. "This Cliq could be the biggest opportunity for Motorola in many years."
The Cliq and its Motoblur social service were described by co-CEO Sanjay Jha as an auspicious re-start for Motorola, which has been planning for nearly two years to spin off its cell phone business, but has not done so because market conditions weren't right. If the Android strategy at Motorola works as planned, there won't be as much motivation to spin off the unit, Burden and other analysts said.
"It's a very important starting point for us," Jha said of the Cliq and Motoblur in comments at the GigaOm Mobile conference today. Motoblur will be introduced in other markets in 2010 and in a variety of form factors, where it will be known as the Dext, he said. In all, Jha said there will be multiples of tens of Android devices on the market in 18 months.
Motoblur will automatically sync conversations, contacts and content on the Cliq, Jha said. It will also have the ability to preserve a user's data on a secure server in the event the phone is lost. A user could restore that data to a new device and wipe the data off the old one, while at the same time using a home computer to find the missing Cliq using the device's GPS capabilities, Motorola said.