After years of pumping out seemingly endless re-heats of its Razr handset, Motorola’s mobile phone division found itself in trouble last year as the market swiftly moved away from it at a time when it seemed to have nothing new or exciting to offer. Thankfully, the company has regrouped and refocused around the idea of using Android as its operating system of choice. As a result there’s a whole host of new Android-based smartphones from Motorola hitting the market, with the first arriving in the form of the Dext (or Cliq as it is known in the US).
Motorola’s switch to Android has to be one of the best decisions the company has made in a long time, as despite having produced some brilliant hardware designs in the past, the user interface Motorola has used on its phones has always been poor, especially as it seemed to insist on sticking with iTap instead of T9 and squirreling major functions away in confusing menus.
Thankfully Motorola hasn’t simply taken the vanilla version of Android Cupcake and stuck it on the Dext. Instead, like HTC, it has added its own enhancements over the top in the form of its Motoblur interface. What you get is a bunch of live homescreen widgets and apps that give you quick access to social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Last.fm. There’s also a widget called Happenings that neatly pulls together all the social networking posts from your contacts into a single stream. These widgets work well and certainly save you the hassle of constantly logging in and out of different social networking services to check updates or make posts.
However, there’s more to Motionblur than just widgets, as it also acts a bit like Microsoft’s new MyPhone service in that it automatically backs up all the content from your phone to a central server. As the data is then held in the Motoblur cloud you can then access it anywhere from a PC or use it to rapidly reinstall all the data on a new phone if some scally has done you over and nicked your handset. Speaking of which, it also allows you to track your mobile remotely using the onboard GPS and wipe its contents if it’s not somewhere where it should be.