The CLIQ phone was Motorola’s first Android-based handset and was available exclusively through T-Mobile in US market. Elsewhere it was marketed as the DEXT. When it was launched, Motorola announced that it had secured deals to sell the phone with Orange (UK and France), Telefonica (Spain), and America Moviles (various Latin American markets).
It was a qwerty side-slider with a 3.1-inch touch screen, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, a five-megapixel camera, AGPS and an accelerometer. It supported a suite of Google services (Gmail, Maps, Marketplace, Search, Talk and YouTube) and had a WebKit-based browser.
A notable feature of the phone was a Motorola logo that was in the middle of the metal area behind the display which became visible and lit up when the keyboard was opened. The lighting effect on the qwerty keyboard was also innovative as it had two independent backlights, one that illuminated the main keys and a further light that activated when the ALT key was pressed. This meant that there was progressive lighting available on the keyboard, so in low-light the keyboard was not overwhelmingly bright.
The phone coincided with the launch of Motoblur, a new user interface and service platform which ran on top of the Android operating system on the CLIQ/DEXT. Motoblur integrated social networking, messaging and web services. It also allowed users to synchronise contacts, updates, and messaging applications from multiple sources into single views. Motorola’s Motoblur was as similar approach to the efforts of rival HTC with its Sense UI but also had a network element with users’ information been aggregated in the cloud and then shared with the phone.
The Motorola CLIQ/DEXT was initially well received but it suffered from performance issues which were not helped by having to drive the Motoblur user interface on top of Android. Its relatively small 3.1-inch display also made it challenging to keep track of all the different information presented in the widgets aggregating content on the screen. It seems likely that Motorola recognised these shortcomings but felt the CLIQ/DEXT was critical to re-establishing its struggling mobile phone business as well as being an important device to get a foothold in the Android devices space.