Will Motorola gain major mojo from Android Cliq?

Android smartphone might be beginning of a Motorola resurgence (see video, below)

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Several analysts said Motoblur's synchronization capability is apparently based on software Motorola had access to while it owned Good Technology, a division that Motorola recently sold to Visto. But the server backup features and some of the architecture have not been fully described for analysts, they said.

The cost of the Cliq was not announced, but Burden said it will probably sell for less than $200. "It has to sell for less than $200" because of competing products on the market, he added.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said Motorola desperately needed to introduce a new product focused on one platform and that will lead to other products in the future.

"In the past, they built one of every kind of device and they can't do that anymore," he said. "Android was a good platform to target, and it allows Motorola to work with developers since it's open and can be customized."

By contrast, Gold said if Motorola "can't come out with some slick new phones that have consumer or prosumer appeal, they will fail."

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Inc., reserved judgment on how well the Cliq will be received. Noting that it's a slider device, a form factor that business users don't tend to like, Dulaney said the Cliq seems geared toward consumers who like to text. Business users also prefer a portrait or landscape-oriented touch screen that has a physical QWERTY keyboard as well.

The purpose of Motoblur is to bring together various interfaces for social networks and Internet access for simplicity, much as Palm Inc. has done with Synergy or HTC has done with Sense, Dulaney said. "The are going to blur different interfaces between social uses and business uses to make the device more people-centric than message-centric," Dulaney said.

But Dulaney called Motoblur a "horrible name that is too much of a Freudian slip" for the kind of blurriness that has haunted the consumer division at Motorola for two years.

Both Dulaney and Burden said the heavy emphasis that Motorola has placed on Android further lowers the company's priority of building devices that use the Windows Mobile operating system, which Jha promised to do more than a year ago. "It looks like they'll keep de-emphasizing Windows Mobile," Dulaney said, although he said another Windows Mobile device could be launched by year's end.

Today's announcement could spell the beginning of the end for Windows Mobile at Motorola, Burden added. "Motorola wants fewer platforms and has been very vocal about that," he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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