When we initially picked up the Motorola Droid X, we noticed that the home screen shows an updated look of what appears to be a revised, improved MOTO BLUR, but that wasn’t the case. After I had filmed the widgets and UI video, I had contacted Motorola PR to find out that the interface on the Droid X isn’t the same MOTO BLUR that we’ve seen on the CLIQ, CLIQ XT, and the Devour; rather, Motorola is saying that the interface consists of customizable widgets through their collaboration with Verizon Wireless with back-end support. Now, after reading about the Android Gingerbread speculations about Google’s focus on the user experience (UX) for the next-generation Android after Froyo, it makes some sense that Motorola is shying away from branding the Droid X as a MOTO BLUR device.
Because of Motorola’s strong partnership with Verizon Wireless and Google–the company has shared the stage with Google before on several occasions including the launch of the first Android MOTO CLIQ device–it would make sense for Motorola to be attuned to Google’s strategy. However you look at it, the UI on the Droid X is very similar to that of the original CLIQ–it provides widgets for social networking, weather, and aggregated news; it synchronizes contacts beautifully with various social media sites much like Palm’s Synergy engine; and it provides two soft buttons on the screen that Android was missing before for quick access to the Phone and Contacts apps.
The difference with the Droid X’s Motorola UI compared to the MOTO BLUR UI of devices past is that this is the first time that Motorola is customizing its UI and tweaking Android on a higher resolution screen. If you recall, the original Motorola Droid is a Google experience phone that lacked any UI customizations on Android. Now, with a higher resolution screen, Motorola is introducing new features to its widgets, including the ability to resize the widgets as a user sees fit, which was not possible before on a smaller, lower-resolution screen. Do the new widgets provide similar functionality, utility, and experience as MOTO BLUR? Yes, but it’s not called MOTO BLUR.
It could be that Motorola’s planned obsolescence of MOTO BLUR is in direct anticipation of Google’s Android Gingerbread build, which would negate the use of custom UIs much in the same way that Microsoft has shunned skins and UIs on Windows Phone 7. By calling its UI widgets, it is slowly migrating customers and end-users to understanding that these various MOTO customizations can move forward and work in conjunction with whatever UI and user experience Google has planned in the next iteration of Android. Rather than be caught like HTC when Microsoft announced that it won’t support custom skins on Windows Phone 7, Motorola’s shift to de-branding itself from MOTO BLUR seems like it’s a smart strategy, but at this time the similarities to MOTO BLUR still make the move seem like it’s just rhetoric.