Analyst: Motorola Cliq sales slipping

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Sales of the Android-powered Motorola Cliq, which is being exclusively offered through T-Mobile USA, are falling short of expectations, according to a research note from Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron.

Kidron said sales of Motorola's second phone based on Google's Android platform, the Droid, were in line with expectations, but that the Cliq was suffering because of issues with battery life. He said Motorola is preparing a software patch to fix the problem, but that T-Mobile has lost interest in the device, thus contributing to a drop in sales.

Despite the shortfall, Kidron said it should not cause Motorola to miss its earnings target for the fourth quarter. "Competitive pressures will rise, but overall we believe the company is on the right track to 2010 year-end profitability," he said.

T-Mobile spokeswoman Alexandra Trask disputed the suggestion that Cliq sales were falling behind sales targets. Though she declined to provide specific sales figures, Trask told FierceWireless that sales have been positive. She also confirmed that there would soon be an over-the-air update for the Cliq, but did not say what it would be for; additionally, she said the Cliq's battery life has performed at expected levels.

Trask also took issue with the suggestion that T-Mobile has somehow decreased its support for the Cliq. "That couldn't be farther from the truth. This is a device we're really excited about for the holiday season," she said. " It's very prominently featured in our stores. We're doing a lot from a marketing perspective and merchandising perspective."

Verizon Wireless, Motorola's partner on the Droid and the nation's largest wireless carrier, has put its marketing muscle behind the phone, one of two Android devices in its lineup (the other is the HTC Droid Eris). T-Mobile has four Android phones, including the Cliq, and has a major campaign focusing on the HTC-built myTouch 3G. The Cliq sells for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

"I think the different experiences on the devices help differentiate them," Trask said, referring to T-Mobile's Android phones. "We don't give them less love just because there's more of them."

Motorola plans to release at least 20 smartphones next year, most running on Android.

For more:
- see this AP article

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