With its much-awaited first Android-based phones, announced Thursday, Motorola is placing its bets on social networking.
The handsets, which will be launched progressively from next month, will use Motorola's new Motoblur solution, which shows aggregated content from sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Gmail on the phone's home screen.
Users will be able to read messages, update their status and check news feeds and calendar schedules from the home screen.
CEO Sanjay Jha said Motoblur “will be available on our first Android-powered device and on multiple Android devices in our upcoming portfolio,” indicating that more Android phones are in the offing.
The Android product line is seen as critical to the recovery of Motorola’s loss-making handset division, whose market share has fallen to 5% from a peak of around 20%.
The first Android handset for the US, the Cliq, will launch as a T-Mobile exclusive by November. It will be a 3G smartphone with a full Qwerty keyboard and Wi-Fi.
Another Android phone, the Dext, will launch internationally. Orange will begin selling it in the UK and France from early next month. Motorola has also secured deals with Spain's Telefónica and America Movil in Latin America.
Meanwhile, emerging handset maker INQ, a Hutchison Whampoa subsidiary, announced it plans to develop an Android handset by next year.
CEO Frank Mehan told GigaOm that the large phone vendors have been sluggish to adopt Android, leaving a niche that smaller companies like INQ are rushing to fill.
Mehan added that Motorola made the right move by turning to Android to help reignite sales.