Why the new Motorola Cliq won’t be a hit

Mon, Sep 14, 2009

Analysis, News

Last week, Motorola unveiled its latest attempt to remain relevant in a mobile industry that seemingly passed them by in a heartbeat – the Motorola Cliq.  The Cliq features a new Motorola technology called “Motoblur”, a feature which “Motoblur streams your emails, conversations and friends right into your phone.  Only Motoblur can sync them all, with continuous updates and backups.  No logins or apps to open, and your data’s always safe.”

Am I the only one who thinks this a bad idea?  The ability to sync all of your email and social media contacts/updates into one continuous stream might be useful if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s not a feature that stands on its own two feet for marketing purposes.  And I’d wager that most people would prefer not to integrate all of their emails and social networks.  People often choose to keep those separate for a reason.

Tony Bradley of PC World writes:

Integrating information from various messaging and social networking sources into a single interface is a great idea, but it is hard to pull off on a 3-inch screen. The MotoBlur concept would probably make a great application or browser plugin for desktops and laptops, or even notebooks, but it’s a lot of information to fit onto such a small display.

Screen size aside, MotoBlur also suffers from being version 1.0. The information overload combined with the inability to filter out information you don’t want to see illustrate that there is room for improving the MotoBlur experience. I would expect the functionality and customizability of the MotoBlur UI to improve with future releases.

The Cliq, to its credit, has a 5 megapixel autofocus camera – can’t complain about that.  It’s telling, though, that Motorola, and other companies as well, are so intensely focused on hyping up contact integration across social networks.  It’s like they’re marketing a phone to appeal to the latest “fad”, instead of designing a phone that would something to offer if Facebook, Digg, and Flickr instantaneously disappeared.

And lastly, if you’ve seen a screenshot of the Cliq, it seems that the screen is liable to get real crowded real quick.



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