How Motorola's Cliq Could Click With Customers

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Motorola's new CLIQ, seems like a great new phone, ripe for tailoring to specific user segments. Looking at the specs and watching a demo, shows Motorola has done pretty much everything right.

However, it is not a great enough phone (just ask Tony Bradley) to dramatically change Motorola's sagging cellular fortunes. That will take a whole family of new products, built around the CLIQ platform but featuring a different software load.

While Apple can release a single model and change the smart phone market, that time has long passed for Motorola. The once mighty company has been reduced to releasing "demographic" phones and hoping to build a win across multiple models.

With its social networking integration, the CLIQ, to be known as the DEXT outside the U.S., is likely to attract lots of teens and others who live their lives on Twitter and Facebook. If you are not such a person, then the new Motophone is much less attractive.

That is what I mean by "demographic phone." Some will love the CLIQ, but others will be left cold, because it does not meet their needs and the social networking user interface actually gets in the way.

However, if Motorola can successfully target other markets, changing only the applications it ships across the different models, there is the possibility of turning a family of CLIQ products into a very solid win, offering tight integration of applications for teens, business people, and so on.

I would like to see a phone that targets seniors, perhaps with features to help those needing larger text and buttons on the screen. This would get in the way of users who do not need it, but would be a godsend for those who do.

A businessperson's CLIQ would be setup to compete with Blackberry models, adding Exchange support and other features that market demands.

That is what I mean by it being a "demographic" phone, designed to hit a specific market segment and willing to sacrifice others. However, if the only difference is the software load, the investment in each version is minor.

Different hardware would add quite a bit of development cost. However, with a platform as capable as the CLIQ as a starting point, Motorola should have no trouble turning a single handset into a demographic-specific lifestyle accessory, markets, if it so chooses.

Wonder what a Techinciter phone would include, besides crystal ball and blogging software?

Industry veteran David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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