Image: Hugh Threlfall
October 03 2009
The battle to produce a smartphone to really rival BlackBerry and iPhone is hotting up. The most eagerly awaited pretenders are Palm’s offering – the strangely named Pre, which I’ll cover next month – and this, Motorola’s strangely named Dext. The Dext (it has something to do with dexterity) is a funny fish. It looks like it’s made for a senior corporate dude but does what the average social networking-obsessed teenager wants.
The Dext is based around a new interface with the shouty name MOTOBLUR, which merges all the main social networking sites (aside from the one grown-up one, LinkedIn). So on the Dext’s home screen you can have Facebook, Twitter and whatever else up simultaneously. Never again will you need to miss an invitation or status update from your friends. And never again, when you want to tell the world that you’re drunk, will you need to open each social networking site individually and update your several statuses one by one. With MotoBlur, you can update them all together.
Now we’ll leave to one side the contention that it’s apparently a no-no in the status-updating world for your Facebook status to be the same as your Twitter. What I’ll focus on is this: the Dext is a big fat slab of a thing with as much appeal to young ’uns as the latest steel prices. Motorola is taking a punt that in the coming months Hank out of Peoria and Rupert in Notting Hill will see it as a business necessity to keep up a 24-hour Twitter stream. I can see where it’s coming from; I’ll probably have a Technopolis Twitter stream up soon, but then I’m a fluffy, media, iPhone type, not a big swinging boardroom Tom, Harry or, indeed, Dick.
The Dext is as splendid a piece of heavy ironware as ever rolled out of Chicago. Its software is impressive. I’m just not yet convinced the mix of hyper-social networking and serious businesswear gadgetry quite works. I’m probably wrong.