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Review: Motorola CLIQ

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The CLIQ runs Android with the MOTOBLUR user interface on top of it. The core, underlying Android menus are completely unchanged. What really sets the phone apart from other Android devices is MOTOBLUR.

Similar to HTC's Sense UI, MOTOBLUR extends the usable home screen space to five screens rather than the stock three. This means you have plenty of space to load up the CLIQ with apps, shortcuts, widgets or whatever. Out of the box, BLUR's Happenings, Updates and Messaging widgets are on the home screen. Happenings is a constant live stream of all your friends' Twitter and Facebook status updates. Updates are all of your Twitter and Facebook status updates. Messaging is a master inbox that combines your SMS/MMS and IM messages with Facebook messages and Twitter direct messages.

I'll tell you straight up: I love social networking, especially Twitter. I loved the concept of having a live feed of all my friends' updates on my phone's home screen. But in reality, it is simply overwhelming — and flat-out dangerous for your privacy (more on that in a minute).

As I mentioned earlier, I follow about 2300 people on Twitter. Guess what that means? People are posting updates every. Single. Second. Now, the phone doesn't beep at you, or vibrate each time a message comes in, but the feed updates all the time. I had to get it off of the main home screen and move it off the the side, because I found it to be too distracting.

Motorola has also plopped a news feed and an entertainment feed on the home screen of the CLIQ. All of these feeds can be opened and read separately. You simply press the feed, and start swiping from story to story, or update to update. In the news and entertainment feeds, you often have to click on a link and go to a full web site to read a story. All of the feeds can be customized so the content you want is delivered to the home screen.

In fact, all of the widgets can be customized, deleted, moved, whatever. Each user has plenty of choice when it comes to making the basic experience of the CLIQ their own.

On the privacy issue. The CLIQ strongly recommends that you set a password lock for the phone during the set-up process. After using BLUR for a while, I can see why. All of your messages are pushed to the home screen automatically. Anyone who picks up the phone will have instant access to your messages and Twitter/Facebook feeds and can read the messages directly on the home screen. Trust me, you don't want that. Password protect your phone or move Happenings and Messaging off the main home screen.

Last point I'll make here: the CLIQ is deadly slow. Transitioning from app to app, or screen to screen, or whatever just takes forever. Given the presence of lag on so many Android handsets I am beginning to wonder if the minimum specs for processor speeds are high enough to really support the platform.


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