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Cellphones

Motorola Introduces Android Phones, Social Software 195

Posted by kdawson
from the all-thumbs dept.
ruphus13 was among the readers sending word of Motorola's Android handsets yesterday, along with a "socially aware" application layer called MotoBlur. The Motorola Cliq is expected in a few weeks. T-Mobile is Motorola's carrier partner in the US. A second Android phone will be marketed in other countries under the name Dext. Reuters called the market's reaction to Motorola's announcement "muted." "Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, Co-CEO of Motorola and CEO of the company's Mobile Devices division, unveiled Motorola's Android platform play. ... Key to both of the phones, and key to Motorola's overall Android strategy, is a new interface and application layer called MotoBlur. It's focused on 'a single stream' for social networking features, software updates, messages, syncing, e-mails, videos, photos... The Cliq phone has a 5-megapixel camera, slide-out keyboard, 24 frame-per-second video capabilities, GPS, a headphone jack, an advanced browser from Google, integrated Exchange service, and Google roaming services including Google voice search, access to maps, Google calendar, and more. It also provides one-click access to Android Market and the thousands of Android applications there."
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Motorola Introduces Android Phones, Social Software

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  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated&ema,il> on Friday September 11, 2009 @11:32AM (#29390521) Journal

    I can't say I'm surprised. After the RAZR fad passed and the Q flopped, Motorola had very few alternatives to turn to; Windows Mobile wasn't one of them. This could be their great restart, and I'd really like to see them make a strong comeback into the market.

    Maybe they could set another first and make the Android flip-phone (like they did with the MPX200)...?

  • by Churla (936633) on Friday September 11, 2009 @11:50AM (#29390735)

    I don't know about calling the RAZR a "fad that passed". That series of phones, in my experience at least, are very solid phones. Also moderately customizable if you want to get into reflashing them. I still have a V3i I keep in my desk drawer "just in case" my G1 should fritz out on me.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday September 11, 2009 @11:55AM (#29390801) Homepage Journal

    There are silver linings in the RAZR series, a few phones (V3i and V3x in particular) can be tinkered for FANTASTIC battery life, and they have the largest screens of their cousins that run the same software. With that said: That particular software is total garbage. Most models (my V3i included) don't even support stereo bluetooth audio. I never had to reboot my phone less than once a week, more if I was making frequent use of Java applets. Sometimes the phone would just refuse to transmit any Audio in one direction or the other until a reboot; sometimes the dialer would hang. I now have another moto phone with the same software (W345i I think) from Crackphone, and it is a terrible piece of shit. The keypad is even harder to use properly (i.e. pressing one key at a time) than the RAZR's and the port covers are very hard to remove. The RAZR had none, and it was a problem. All in all, I am planning on the Nokia N900. I think Motorola has forgotten everything they ever knew about making durable hardware and I no longer trust them.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:00PM (#29390845)

    Nice thing about the new Android phones is that developers are writing apps with work together with other apps. Almost impossible on the iPhone unless Steve Jobs rids himself of his total control fixation. Give it 2 years or so for this tech to mature some more, get more apps out there and have HTC and others build phones with a lot of storage like Apple does and i'll be junking my iphone 3GS come 2011 when my contract expires.

    iPhone is nice even for all it's shortcomings, but Apple's total control fixation is going to hurt it in the long run and leave it as a niche device only for the cult of steve fanboys

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:10PM (#29390957) Homepage

    I would not trust Motorola to maintain the cloud services behind MotoBlur for very long. Neither phone manufacturers nor service providers, in my experience, do a very poor job in follow-through for software and software-based services (Apple, for the most part, excepted; RIM as well.) The strength of the Android platform has been that Google is providing those services, and Google is interested in continuity, long-term relationships with their customers, etc.

    Trying to take the Google out of Android and making it a "custom brand" is a confidence-killer for me. The Samsung phone is more promising.

  • Interesting.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:33PM (#29391205) Homepage

    I'm a bit of a Motorola fan, I've used their cell phones for years, but their problem for a long time has been that they produce solid hardware and total crap software.

    So now we'll have great Moto hardware with wonderful Google software -- perfect world, right? Except Motorola decides to go and add "MotoBlur" to the Android software, and who knows how much of a train wreck that will be.

    Anyways, I'll very much be looking forward to reviews of these devices.

  • by DomNF15 (1529309) on Friday September 11, 2009 @12:49PM (#29391411)
    The Razr was an innovative phone when it was released, no one else had a phone like it (similar to the iPhone when it was released). It was copied and mimicked ad-nauseam by a number of cell phone manufacturers. Motorola's problem is that they rode the Razr wave all the way back to the beach before they refocused any attention on R&D and their upcoming product portfolio. I worked for Moto Mobile Devices for 4 years, and towards the end, all the big wigs were telling us we had nothing in our 3G GSM product pipeline, and that's when I made the decision to leave. The Cliq, while seemingly a nice device that appears to at least somewhat compete with the iPhone, is by no means groundbreaking. It may help Motorola to start selling cell phones again, but I doubt it will bring them anywhere near the level of success enjoyed during the Razr centric times. To see them back on top, Motorola will have to continue delivering phones that best the Cliq and drive the market.
  • Re:Muted reaction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Friday September 11, 2009 @01:18PM (#29391773) Journal

    The phone itself looks like it was designed in Taiwan, not by Motorola. Where is the great design team that gave us the Razr? The problem with Android phones isn't the software (which rocks), it's the hardware (which so far sucks big-time). Why would Moto put out another crappy plastic phone with a honking huge slide-out keyboard and tiny battery, when HTC already has that market covered with the T-Mobile G1? Also, T-Mobile isn't exactly the premier partner... why doesn't Verison wake up and get a good phone? They have the best network, happiest customers, and crap for phones. Why they can't get a clue is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

    Anyway, I'll probably be forced to buy another iPhone after my crappy T-Mobile G1 gives up the ghost. I hate to go back to evil Apple and the AT&T dork squad. But, that's where we developers have access to the most customers. I'll just hold my nose and enjoy the beautiful hardware Apple designs.

    Anyway, hurray for Moto for a headphone jack! That is the biggest reason T-Mobile customers will prefer the Moto device over both of HTCs.

  • Re:Muted reaction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:03PM (#29392323) Journal

    The hardware, while not stellar, is very nice. There is nothing wrong with the hardware. It absolutely does not "suck big-time".

    It's all relative. If we hadn't seen such great phones from Moto in the past, and Apple currently, the G1 would rate pretty good (except for the stupid lack of a headphone jack). I'm just disappointed, because I don't want another medium-end phone like the G1, I want a polished thing of beauty and function like the original Razr and the current iPhone.

    So, yes, form is important to me. My G1 mostly functions OK as a phone, except for poor volume (the original iPhone had this problem, too). It's the extras that don't compare: the camera, size, battery capacity, storage for music and photos, etc. Note that I haven't got any complaints about the OS, except that Google should grow a pair and duplicate the cool multi-touch and animation features of the iPhone, like the Palm Pre does.

  • Re:Muted reaction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:30PM (#29393935) Journal

    In that case, I will continue to wait in anticipation! I am a big fan of the Android platform. I've just been very disappointed waiting since Nov of 2007 (the original big announcement) until now, still waiting for a leading edge hardware platform. With 75,000 apps on Apple's App Store, Android has fallen very far behind. Also, none of this is Google's fault, IMO. Google delivered the best competitor in phone OSes, and the handset manufacturers ignored it. So far, we only have Taiwan hand sets, and only then because Qualcom is a major investor in HTC, and even then, HTC reserved it's best work for Windows Mobile handsets (which frankly are more impressive than the G1). Also, while T-Mobile is an OK cell phone service provider, the major providers have completely ignored Android, and instead pursued obsolete proprietary offerings. They simply don't seem capable of understanding that the world has changed.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:35PM (#29393983)

    And it runs Linux!

    There is a modified Android image growing in popularity, for those willing to root their phone, called Cyanogen Mod [cyanogenmod.com]. The developer has incorporated the BFS scheduler [lwn.net], by Con Kolivas. By replacing CFS with BFS, the performance boost and latency decreases is said to be HUGE; contrary to the petty retort by Ingo Molnar, to which I linked. While both Cyanogen Mod and BFS are still actively developed, IMO, they do wonders to validate Google's approach. First and foremost, is the fact it runs Linux, which is freely available and heavily developed. Secondly is the fact, both Linux and Android are open source which allows for such pairing and experimentation. I fully expect both camps will be richly rewarded from shared cooperation.

  • Re:Muted reaction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Friday September 11, 2009 @05:32PM (#29394401)

    Android has fallen very far behind.

    They started out behind. How can they fall behind? With the exception of market sales, Android has met or beat every significant milestone established by Apple and their iPhone. There are now 10,000+ applications available for Android; though I personally believe maybe only 20%-30% are worth looking at. I hear the same thing about the App Store. So technically, that means its far, far harder to find quality applications on an iPhone. Thus far, Android is on schedule, if not ahead of schedule, to be ahead of the iPhone by 2012.

    Google delivered the best competitor in phone OSes, and the handset manufacturers ignored it.

    With just cause. Frankly, version of Android less than 1.5 were never ready for public consumption. And even Cupcake has some serious technical failings; though it does continue to get better and better. It appears the up coming release of Donut will finally allow the Android platform to exceed or meet iPhones in every category, not counting the categories where iPhone is simply not allowed to compete. Really, Android is brand new and the carriers were right to pass on it until recently, as frustrating as that is.

    HTC reserved it's best work for Windows Mobile

    That's not surprising. HTC, just like everyone else has been putting their toes in the water. Response has far exceeded expectations for HTC handsets and it now looks like at least one high end HTC handset will be available before the end of the year. Sorry, I don't recall the name...something HD and possibly another from that line. HTC needs MS until Android has proved its staying power. And even then, MS still sells units for them. It would be a bad decision for them to piss on MS while riding an unproven horse in the market.

    Also, while T-Mobile is an OK cell phone service provider

    By the end of this year, three of the largest US carriers will have at least one Android handset available. Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all excited about their Android offerings. Verizon and Sprint have both announced plans. T-Mobile has announced a third handset. Even AT&T has publicly stated they misstepped with Android, and withdrew two handsets before they launched. Some are speculating AT&T will have an Android offering by Christmas...but that's just speculation. The more reasonable expectation is for AT&T to have an offering by first or second quarter of next year. Having said that, most expect AT&T to play the low to mid field for Android handsets, so as to not compete with their iPhone cash-cow. Furthermore, depending on whos paperwork you believe, Verizon is poised to have as many as three Android handsets available between now and the second quarter of next year.

    Worldwide, over twenty Android handsets will be available before the end of this year. Its safe to say, unless something really horrific happens, 2010 will be the year of the Android.

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