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Mot acquisition targets MotoBlur makeover

Dec 22, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The oft-maligned MotoBlur UI “skin” that Motorola adds to many of its Android phones may get a makeover, thanks to a holiday acquisition. Motorola has acquired Zecter, a startup with assets for syncing and streaming content, and says it will apply the technology to MotoBlur.

Motorola has purchased Zecter, a startup company with synchronization and streaming technologies for on-demand media consumption, it announced Dec. 22. Terms were not disclosed.

Motorola officials plan to use the Zecter technology to enhance experiences with their mobile devices, particularly with respect to the MotoBlur user interface. MotoBlur streams and syncs together information from various applications and websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and posts them on a user's home screen for easy viewing. It also automatically backs up user data, and, should a device go missing, reinstates the data, says Motorola.

Yet, as with other Android UI layers, including HTC's Sense and Samsung's TouchWiz, MotoBlur has drawn complaints from the Android customer base. The major problem is that MotoBlur tends to slow down performance, and can't be removed.

Motorola says it will integrate Zecter's wireless syncing, desktop integration, video transcoding and thin-file retrieving technologies across all of its devices and MotoBlur offerings, which currently include the Backflip, Flipout (pictured), Defy, Charm, and Devour.

Zecter currently offers two commercial products. ZumoDrive enables cloud-based content syncing, access and sharing, while ZumoCast enables personal media streaming on a device. Both store files in the cloud, enabling users to easily access their content, even when it's not stored locally, says Motorola. The Zecter software also includes a Battery Manager for customizing a phone's power consumption.

Zecter has expertise in offering solutions across multiple mobile platforms, says Motorola. However, Motorola's current success has come from its focus on Android. During its fiscal third quarter, the phone maker announced profits of $109 million, an enormous jump from the $12 million it earned a year earlier.

In November 2009, the company launched the Motorola Droid on the Verizon Wireless network and has since watched sales climb. During the third quarter, it shipped 3.8 million smartphones, with the Droid X and Droid 2 topping its sales list. Despite its success, analysts at Jefferies and Co. have criticized its reliance on Android, saying that competitors such as HTC and Samsung can "tap into the same ecosystem."

Stated Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services at Motorola Mobility, "Consumers want seamless access to their content and media from wherever they are, while content providers want to ensure that content remains protected and secure. We believe that Zecter enables that seamless experience with the necessary security measures."

Verizon says Mot will join its 4G roll-out

In other Android-related Motorola news today, Verizon Wireless COO John Stratton said Motorola will "be right there" when the wireless carrier unveils its 4G smartphones next year. This week, Verizon posted a Tweet suggesting that on Jan. 6 at CES it will announce several 4G LTE phones that run Android.

Michelle Maisto is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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