Live blog: Motorola unveils Cliq, Motoblur

Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha introduces Motorola's first phone running Google's Android operating system--the Cliq, which will come with the Motoblur social-networking aggregation service.

Editor's note: What follows is our live coverage of Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha's speech at Mobilize '09 in San Francisco Thursday, where Jha introduced Motorola's first phone running Google's Android operating system. Jha's speech was followed by a panel discussion with Google's Andy Rubin and conference host Om Malik of GigaOm. During the presentation, Motorola presented the new device as two phones, one called the Cliq and one called the Dext. In reality, there is just one device, but it will be sold under different names. The phone will be known as the Cliq in the U.S., and it will be sold under the Dext name worldwide beginning in 2010.

One of the halls at Mobilize '09 in San Francisco, where Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha will soon speak. Josh Miller/CNET

10:24 a.m. PDT: We're in place here at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center for Mobilize 2009, where Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha is about to take the podium. There are about 250 people crammed into one of those college-style amphitheater lecture halls awaiting the expected debut of Motorola's first Android phones. Let this serve as your two-minute warning.

10:29 a.m.: Kevin Tofel of GigaOm's jkOnTheRun takes the stage for the cell phone warnings, and to introduce Sanjay Jha. Jha says he's going to focus on broadband wireless, with a nod to the "tremendous change" in the last year or so as high-speed wireless becomes widespread. He's defining that as 500Kbps.

Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha takes the stage. Josh Miller/CNET

10:31 a.m.: This is shaping up as your garden-variety mobile-is-the-future keynote so far, as Jha points to the huge gains in mobile subscribers in the U.S. while noting that emerging markets provide an even bigger opportunity. That mobile adoption is changing the way people communicate, he says, leading to the rise of things like Facebook and Twitter where you're always connected and always broadcasting.

10:33 a.m.: It's not just phones that are going mobile, Jha says, but smartphones are the "backbone" of the mobile industry. He rightly points out that nobody knows exactly how to define the term "smartphone," although you need basic things like big screens, anytime wireless, and a multithreaded multitasking operating system. That operating system, Jha says, is Android.

Jha talks about what makes a smartphone, with emphasis on the last item. Josh Miller/CNET

10:34 a.m.: Motorola likes Android because it was designed for smartphones from the beginning, Jha says. The company was a founding member of Google's Open Handset Alliance and has contributed engineers to the project. That being said, there are an awful lot of choices in the mobile market right now, and people want choices in their phones, Jha says. That's why Motorola plans to develop a range of smartphones tailored to different needs.

10:36 a.m.: He's going to talk about two devices, one that he's going to demonstrate today and another that will be shown off in a few weeks, with a launch in time for the holiday season.

10:37 a.m.: Social networking is a key app for mobile phones. Jha makes the dubious claim that the "vast majority" of social-network users have a presence on the Holy Trinity of social: Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Still, there's no denying that mobile and social networking go together, with large numbers of people accessing their social networks on phones.

10:40 a.m.: First announcement: Motoblur. It's seems to be a phone designed around one of those river-like streams that brings together all your different social-networking profiles, at least according to the video we're watching. It has a special user interface designed to bring those social-networking applications to the forefront, a screen that can show off tweets, status updates, and let you update your own status from the phone. A social-networking phone?

Jha introduces Motoblur, which syncs multimedia from all your favorite social-networking apps. Josh Miller/CNET

10:42 a.m.: Jha has yet to discuss the phone's browser or other capabilities, devoting the entire discussion so far to the social-networking applications of this phone. It's still not clear whether this is an actual phone or a mega-application that Motorola has developed for its Android phones.

10:44 a.m.: Now he's getting into the other aspects of the phone, the ability to link calls with mapping software, remote wipe capabilities, and such. All your contacts and social-networking profiles are stored in the cloud, so that if your phone gets stolen you don't really lose any data when you remote-wipe the phone. Cole Brodman, CTO of T-Mobile, comes up on stage.

Jha and Cole Brodman from T Mobile after introducing the new phone. Josh Miller/CNET

10:46 a.m.: Brodman calls Motoblur a service, so we're finally getting a clear picture. The other phone is the Motorola Cliq, and it will be available in time for the holidays, Brodman says.

Motoblur Josh Miller

10:47 a.m.: Brodman's company has been one of the highest-profile backers of Google's Android, and he spends a few minutes reviewing the accomplishments of Google and Android's developers. Brodman is going back and forth between calling the Blur a phone and a service, further confusing the issue.

10:49 a.m.: Streamlining the flood of social-networking information is an interesting way to look at a mobile phone, Brodman says, and he praises Motorola for the idea. People want a single device with a single service that can blend business and personal networks and uses. He puts the Cliq as a fourth-quarter introduction, and it will come in two colors, winter white and titanium. T-Mobile plans to give it a lot of play, he says.

The Cliq has social skills and comes in two colors...'for all you fashionistas.' Josh Miller/CNET

10:51 a.m.: Jha comes back on stage to praise T-Mobile, and share additional details about the phone. It's got Wi-Fi, a 5-megapixel camera and video recording at 24 frames per second, a standard headphone jack, an HTML browser from Google that sounds like the standard mobile Chrome browser, turn-by-turn directions, and access to Android Market apps.

The Motorola Dext. Josh Miller

10:53 a.m.: Motorola plans to take Motoblur global next year, introducing the service across phone lines. The Dext will be the other phone, and it will be available next year on certain carriers that flashed by quickly, we'll get confirmation on that later.

10:54 a.m.: Jha's winding down, urging attendees to follow Motorola on Twitter. So there you go: Motorola announced two phones, the Cliq and the Dext, both of which will come with the Motoblur social-networking aggregation service. They're setting up for the next part of this talk, a panel discussion involving Jha, Google's Andy Rubin, and GigaOm's Om Malik. (Clarification: During the presentation, Motorola presented the new device as two phones, one called the Cliq and one called the Dext. In reality, there is just one device, but it will be sold under different names. The phone will be known as the Cliq in the U.S., and it will be sold under the Dext name worldwide beginning in 2010.)

Rubin and Jha, holding Motorola's new Cliq. Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Cliq up close. Josh Miller/CNET

Fireside chat with Google's Andy Rubin, left; Jha, center; and Om Malik, right. Josh Miller/CNET

10:57 a.m.: Om asks Sanjay to clarify the definition of "smartphone," a word that has been bandied about ever since Apple launched the iPhone. A rich browser is key, Jha says, although different companies have different definitions. Om wonders if a smartphone is a communications device first and a phone second, and Jha says priorities differ but voice is still very important.

10:59 a.m.: Om asks Andy Rubin how the smartphone has the potential to disrupt everything, not just the tech industry but other industries, like trucking. Rubin notes that phones benefit from Moore's Law just like PCs and are starting to approach the performance of PCs from five years ago. It's about connecting to the Internet, really, and phones are just the new and interesting way of getting there, he says.

11:02 a.m.: Om asks Rubin how Motorola became interested in Android, and Rubin politely avoids pointing out that Motorola had little choice, having failed to get traction for its Linux phones and watching Windows Mobile development fall behind that of other operating systems. Jha describes the partnership between Google and Motorola as "two drunks in a bar" who needed each other and found each other, which is up there with the most eyebrow-raising things I've heard a CEO say on stage.

11:04 a.m.: Om asks Jha about Palm, and Jha wisely decides not to take the bait. He calls the development of the mobile world "the biggest technology opportunity" at present and says that there's plenty of room for a lot of different types of companies to do well in this market.

11:04 a.m.: Om asks if this is Motorola's comeback play, and Jha calls it "a start." The Motoblur service will be a huge part of Motorola's strategy over the next 18-20 months.

11:08 a.m.: Om asks Rubin which came first: the Android OS or iPhone OS? Rubin says he doesn't know, but notes that people who work on operating systems tend to bounce around doing that kind of work. Om jokingly dings Rubin for avoiding the question, although Rubin points out that Apple is sort of secretive about its work.

11:09 a.m.: Om asks Rubin and Jha how they would improve the iPhone. Jha says he's been focused on improving Motorola's phones, which pretty much everyone would agree needed some work.

Motorola's new Cliq, photographed after the keynote and panel discussion.
Motorola's new Cliq, photographed after the keynote and panel discussion. Josh Miller/CNET

11:11 a.m.: What will the mobile Internet look like in 2011? Context-awareness is important, Jha says, and things like health care and fitness will be just as important as multimedia, which will get a huge boost from faster 4G networks. Rubin says the Web needs to move forward as a platform, hewing to Google's company line about the browser becoming the future development platform for application.

11:11 a.m.: That's going to be all from UCSF Mission Bay. We're going to get a much closer look at the Cliq phone and Blur service later today, with CNET Reviews' Kent German and Bonnie Cha sharing their thoughts over the course of the day. Thanks for hanging out with us this morning.

About the author

    Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments