The selling point of Google Android is its customizability, the ability to create a unique-looking interface that's compatible with a steady stream of apps. The trouble is, most of the Android-based handsets we've seen -- starting with T-Mobile's G1 -- have all pretty much felt the same. The just-announced Motorola CLIQ, though, is the best example (so far) of what Android is capable of.
And we're not alone in that thought. Google's Mobile Platform VP Andy Rubin told Gizmodo that the CLIQ may be a more promising rep for the idea of Android than the G1. In fact if he has his way, the social features baked into the CLIQ could eventually become a native part of the platform. That's not to say the CLIQ won't turn up its fair share of "shoulda-coulda-wouldas," but it looks like a good start.
Welcome Motoblur, the CLIQ's user interface that brings Moto's own software and Android together seamlessly. The software allows simultaneous access to all your social networks, e-mail accounts, and contacts in a single feed -- much like the Palm Pre's WebOS. Blur has four parts: Happenings (social media site updates), Messaging (emails, site messages including Twitter direct messages, and texts), News Feeds (self-explanatory), and Social Status (blast all your accounts at once).
Contacts handling is especially WebOS-like. In addition to pulling all them into one place, viewing an individual contact shows your entire history, regardless of how the message was sent.
All this shows up on the home screen; from there you can reply to messages in your feed with a single click. As far as your own display preferences go, Motoblur lets you play with the home screen widgets and feeds to place them wherever you like.
Motoblur also keeps your contacts secure in a cloud-based server, so if you lose your phone or upgrade to another 'blur device, you can easily reload them. Plus, you can remotely wipe data from a lost or stolen handset.
Then there's the hardware. The CLIQ has a 320-by-480-pixel, 3.1-inch touch display and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It's much smaller than the T-Mobile G1, and pretty thin (0.61 inches) for a QWERTY slider. It also has a 5-megapixel camera, which is nice, but no Wi-Fi, which is not.
Look for the CLIQ on T-Mobile before the holidays, in white and titanium.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.