After months of waiting, we finally got an official look at Motorola's first Google Android phone, the Cliq. The actual hardware offers little to get excited about; since it has the same CPU we have seen in every Android phone currently available. Yet, Motorola has developed Motoblur and that brings a ton of new social features to the Android platform. It looks pretty cool, though we couldn't help but notice that it bears more than a passing resemblance to Palm's Synergy.
The following are some of the highlights from Motoblur. Motorola has confirmed we will see these features across multiple Android phones.
Just like HTC did with its Sense UI, Motorola has created several new widgets for the Android desktop. Most focus on aggregating social networks, RSS feeds, and messages directly on the desktop. This creates a live home screen that is automatically updated, which is faster than opening up individual applications.
The featured widget is Happenings. It collects the latest updates from Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and more. Other widgets allow you to get live feeds for weather, sports, and entertainment.
Motorola also has squeezed in new shortcuts for the dialer and contacts applications. These new buttons are at the bottom of the home screen on both sides of the regular app drawer.
If you use social networking Web sites, Motoblur was made for you. Users enter their account information once during the initial phone setup and then never have to log in again. Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are directly connected to many of the phone's core functions. This provides a much more detailed contacts application than what is currently offered on the G1 or the MyTouch 3G.
Android currently provides the capability to sync your phone contacts with a Google account, but Motorola takes it to the next level by allowing you to sync your contacts with all of your social networks. Each contact will sync automatically with the latest profile pictures, status updates, and tweets. Now you can keep track of what your friends are doing across multiple social networks in a single screen. The incoming call display will take full advantage of this information and lets you preview your friends' mood and status updates before answering a call.
Messaging is simplified with a universal in-box. The application will collect e-mails, direct messages from Twitter, and notes from Facebook and MySpace. Users will easily be able to filter each account or view them all at once. Google was previously attempting to do this with their upcoming Wave service, but it looks as if Motorola has delivered first with a working product.
Motoblur lets you send status updates to your social networks with a single click. Just type the update one time and it will automatically publish to all your accounts.
Safe & Secure
Safe & Secure is similar to Apple's . It lets you instantly track your phone from any Web connected PC. In the case that your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe the data. Everything on your phone is backed up online, so it can easily be restored when you login to Motoblur on a new device. While Apple requires a MobileMe subscription ($99 per year) for Find my iPhone, it appears that Motorola will package it with the phone and offer it for free.
With all your social networks are tied in with the phone, sharing photos is a breeze. Motoblur lets you snap a photo and instantly upload it to MySpace, Picasa, Photobucket, and Facebook. Each photo is automatically sized and formatted according to the photo service you use. You also can add a caption to each photo when it is uploaded.
For a closer look at Motoblur, check out the online simulator on the Motorola site Web.