Motorola DEVOUR A555 Review
Motorola has developed MOTOBLUR, which adds extra features and functionality to the Android 1.6 device and is similar in some ways to the Sense UI used by HTC. The MOTOBLUR user interface on the Motorola DEVOUR A555 is basically the same as the one found on the Motorola CLIQ, where the users can sign-in to their MySpace, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Picasa, Photobucket, and Yahoo! Mail, as well as standard POP/IMAP email and exchange accounts. Similar to webOS, contacts are pulled from each location and merged together, and if a contact’s info isn’t recognized you can link to other services or enter it manually. Thankfully info from one service does not get pushed back to another; for example if you have a Google contact who is also a Facebook contact, but they have different email addresses with the two services, Google is not updated with the Facebook address. Also, similar to HTC’s contact management, you can view your communication history and status within a contact, as well as their “happenings” or social network updates.
The homescreen has several custom widgets as well. The Happenings widget pulls all of your social network info and gives you a constant feed of updates. Messaging offers your standard SMS and MMS, but also integrates Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other messaging services including your email accounts. You can view them separately or together in the Universal Inbox. There is also a News and Entertainment widget that displays new info throughout the day. Lastly is the Social Status, which allows you to quickly update your status for the various services on one step. The best feature of these widgets is that a single tap on them brings up more info right on the homescreen without launching a separate app. For instance, if you tap on a news headline, it will bring you a brief synopsis, with a link to launch the full story. If you click on a Facebook profile update in Happenings, it gives you the full text, ability to read any comments and the option to comment yourself. On any of them you can swipe across the screen to get to the next item. There is also the ability to download the full Facebook app from the Android Market, which you have to use for mobile picture uploads to your Facebook profile.
MOTOBLUR is not nearly as ambitious as HTC’s Sense UI, but we do appreciate that it integrates more services than HTC does. When it comes down to it, MOTOBLUR isn’t so much an overhaul of the Android interface like Sense UI, but rather a tweaking. It boils down to better contact integration (even more so that Android 2.x) and some decent custom widgets. There are also five homescreen pages, instead of the stock three, which is always a plus. By far, the Motorola DEVOUR is the most “social networking” device we’ve seen for Verizon, as it is constantly being updated with your different feeds and has an “in your face” approach to showing them. This might make some feel like information overload, but you can always remove the widgets from the homescreens.
Organizer and Messaging:
All of the organizer options are stock Android 1.6. The calendar integrates with your Google account and syncs wirelessly. There is no memo or tasks program, but several are available in the Android Market, and the alarm clock has been ever so slightly tweaked to allow the user to change the snooze time between 5 and 15 minutes.
As mentioned before, messaging is not only SMS and MMS, but also integrates messages from the various social network services, as well as other user-defined personal and corporate email accounts. In addition to the physical QWERTY, the on-screen Android keyboard is available as well, though it is smaller than the DROID’s on-screen keyboard.