Motorola Cliq joins Android bandwagon

Motorola launches smartphone based on Google Android platform but will it be enough to revive its fortunes?

Motorola has unveiled an Android powered smartphone called the Cliq, in what it said would be the first of many in partnership with Google.

The smartphone will only be called the Cliq in the US, where it goes on sale in the fourth quarter, but it will be branded as the Dext in the rest of the world.

With the Cliq, Motorola is looking to take advantage of the craze for social networking sites such as FaceBeook. The device will feature widget based Motoblur software, which delivers updates from friends on multiple social sites. Contacts, messages and log-in information will be backed up on secure servers, so users can remotely erase the data - if the phone is lost - or use it to update a new phone.

The phone also has a slide-out mini-keyboard and a five megapixel camera a 320 x 240 resolution display, GPS and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. It will ship with a 2GB micros SD card but can be upgraded to 32GB.

However, analysts have questioned if it could revive the once-dominant handset maker's fortunes. Wall Street sees the phones as Motorola's last big hope to regain the market share lost to rivals like Apple, Nokia and Samsung.

Analysts were unimpressed by the design but hoped a focus on integrating social networking sites from Facebook to Twitter might help prop up sales.

"It's not really a threat to iPhone because it doesn't look distinctive enough," said Macquarie Research's Phil Cusick. "It's pulling back here because really what they launched was essentially in-line with what we'd been expecting."

France Telecom's Orange plans to sell the phone in Britain and France; Telefonica in Spain; and America Movil in Latin America.

Motorola's last big phone - the Razr - launched nearly five years ago. It featured an ultra-thin design that spurred copycats, but since that phones heyday the company has struggled.

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