Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha: Motoblur is a differentiator
This is something that carrier AT&T (T) has also been working on. It also illustrates the internal conflict at many carriers and handset makers. Namely, are they in the content and application business or are they making hardware and delivering data connectivity? The handset and network equipment maker has been seeking a way to remain relevant in the wireless space as its market share of units sold has declined and its once vaunted design edge has been ceded to Apple (AAPL), RIM (RIMM) and Palm (PALM).
The device that Jha walks through at the conference does appear very promising. The ability to synch all contacts into a single address book across social networks, contact books and SIM cards, sounds extremely promising. The system will push contact updates logged in any social network or contact silo to Motoblur.
The system also will let you create groups on the device. If the device is ever lost or stolen, it can be found with GPS. In other words, this is an online Lojack service. That's pretty cool! And the network will back up all your personal info on Motorola's servers. So as soon as you either find your lost phone or buy a new one, you can restore all the data back to your unit with a simple online unlock. "The peace of mind this delivered to consumers was very important," says Jha.
As part of the launch, Motorola also rolled out a new smart phone, the Cliq, to be sold with T-Mobile in the U.S. and Orange, Telefonica and others overseas. At present, Motoblur will only only work on the new smart phone but Jha promised a rapid roll out of Motoblur on over a dozen phones in the near future.
Will this service help relaunch Moto and rejuvenate its reputation? It's too early to say. Apple's MobileMe service delivers some of the same services but the Motoblur service appears to have significantly more features and encompasses more types of services (MobileMe is not really targeted at making sense out of integrating disparate social networks) but the Blur service definitely helps push the envelope. And it appears that other carriers are getting the iPhone message and stepping up their game.