September 11th, 2009

MOTOBLUR delights with social networking features

I had the opportunity to demo MOTOBLUR on the Motorola CLIQ last night. The device will be available later this year with T-Mobile. It’s been a while since I’ve demo’ed a phone and immediately wanted to take one home.

First, let me say, I was really impressed with the¬†look of the UI. The presentation of the widgets and information had a bit of a whimsical feel to them that appealed to me. I didn’ t feel as if I were clicking my way through a grid or file format. The pop-up boxes were cute. The device allows you to put your most frequently contacts on the home screen as an icon with a small photo – I was really drawn to this feature. [Forrester has written some research on dynamic address books and friendly UI's within the context of mobile social networking. ]

Spent most of my time focused on the social networking aspects. There were a number of features I really liked.

- The set up of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Gmail, etc. is really easy. When you are first setting up your phone, you go into a single menu and can set up all of your services. They also have a single account management page where the information is stored. Really easy and doesn’t require the search, find and download of many different applications.

- Feeds into the Contact list from Facebook, etc. The Contacts are “rich” with information from feeds, conversation history, etc.

- Publishing of updates/photos – can post to a single place or to many (yay!) I spent a lot of time flipping between Facebook and Twitter the other day … well done in solving this pain.

- Widgets … and this falls in one of the themes of the services on the device – there was choice – single news feed or a bundle of weather, sports, news, etc. – and the personalization and selection of services was so easy.

They really hit on a lot of the core services used by consumers with what already ships on the device – good messaging interface (history, integrated, linked to contacts, easy to set up), social networking, and information (news, sports – through widgets, feeds).

And, the presentation of the status updates, news feeds, contacts, etc. on the fun, personalizaed home screen. I don’t know that this is the next Razr, but I think it will do well – it’s fun and does so many things well.

Oh, and it’s Motorola’s first Android device. I’ll leave the review and analysis of the device to my colleague Charlie Golvin.

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