As expected, Motorola yesterday unveiled its first smartphone powered by Google’s Android operating system as the US vendor attempts to revive its struggling mobile devices unit. The Cliq will be available via T-Mobile USA next quarter, and will be branded as Dext when it goes on sale in the UK and France (Orange), Spain (Telefonica) and Latin America (America Movil). Pricing details were not released. A key feature of the 3G device is social networking software dubbed ‘Motoblur,’ which syncs into a single stream a user’s phone contacts, emails, posts, feeds and photos from a wide-range of messaging and social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Gmail. The Cliq is the first of what will be many handsets from the American firm to include Motoblur, which will become Motorola’s smartphone platform of choice, though it will continue to make handsets using Windows Mobile aimed primarily at business users.
Motorola is betting on the new Android operating system as it attempts to regain market share after years of trouble that have seen the vendor slip to fourth place in terms of global handset sales. Sanjay Jha, Motorola’s co-chief executive, and T-Mobile USA executive Cole Brodman unveiled the new device together at an industry conference yesterday (pictured, above right) and a second Android-powered device from Motorola is expected in the next few weeks. Analyst reaction to the Cliq was mixed, with many being unimpressed by the phone’s design but hopeful that a focus on integrating social networking sites might help prop up sales. Shares of Motorola were up around 1.5 percent at US$7.97 last night in the US, but barely more than the overall market and off their earlier high of US$8.15 before the phone was shown.