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Motorola Cliq

>> Thursday, October 8, 2009

Like other T-Mobile Android phones, Motorola Cliq is a bit short on style. With a big, 3.1 inch screen, a rectangular design (with curved edges) and a slide away QWERTY keyboard, Motorola Cliq sits firmly between the clunky T-Mobile G1 and the flashy myTouch 3G. All three phones are carried by T-Mobile. In a brief side by side comparison, the still pre-release Cliq was actually a bit more responsive than the fairly new myTouch.

The non-conformist start screen can extend to five customizable themes, with word bubbles a bit like those Charles Schwab ads you see on billboards. Yet, despite how different it is from the MyTouch and G1, and virtually any other smartphone you've seen before, it may quickly win you over. MotoBlur is more than a UI it's actually a cloud based service. You sign up online and put in all your member info for your social networking services and e-mail. Those bubbles are full of relevant information about people from your contact lists.

All of that then synchs up with your Motorola Cliq and, along with your Gmail and Outlook calendar info, is blended into the MotoBlur interface. Motorola Cliq is constantly pulling updates about your contacts, both direct messages and whatever they're posting to the various social networking sites. Motorola Cliq with MotoBlur will support Microsoft Exchange email, but it's not true push. Instead, it can poll for mail updates intermittently. If you lose your Motorola Cliq, you can not only remotely wipe the phone (if it can be found via GPS), but you can retrieve all your contact and messaging info from the Blur online service.

Those bubbles on your Motorola Cliq with MotoBlur UI are actually Android widgets. The interface starts with a core set : Happenings, Direct, Status, and Weather (though Weather is not actually a Blur creation). All of the widgets update with fresh information within seconds of turning on the phone. Direct is full of, as you'd expect, messages that have been sent directly to you through e-mail and SMS. With this and other widgets, you can choose to scroll through all messages for all contacts or drill down to individual contacts. In that case you see all your direct messages on whatever platforms you use to communicate with that contact.

Happenings is your view port into all public posts (including photo updates) on social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Status is where you show and update your own personal status. You can actually enter one post and have it automatically sent to all your favorite services. There was even time to try making a call on Motorola Cliq. Voices came through loud and clear on both sides, despite the fact that we were standing in a crowded meeting room.

Motorola Cliq accomplishes this by using two microphones and noise canceling technology. Motorola Cliq memory card is only accessible if you remove the back of the device. At least it's not under the SIM card. One other bit of good news is that since a 2GB microSD card comes with the unit, you may not need to use change the card unless you need space for media. The hidden keyboard was nice and roomy. Instead of the G1's separated keys, Motorola Cliq's keys are set apart with chamfers. Next to them is a D-pad if you decide you don't want to navigate the interface with your fingers. The D-pad could also theoretically be used for playing games.

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