Motorola, in need of hit, shows off Android phone

Motorola Cliq Android Phone

Struggling handset maker Motorola unveiled its first phone using Google’s Android system Thursday, banking on it to power features that will attract consumers looking to use their phones to connect with friends, family and colleagues.

The Cliq comes with a touch screen and a standard, “QWERTY” keyboard that slides out from its side. Software on it will let users aggregate contact information from various social networks and e-mail accounts. Small application “widgets” will show such information as your friends’ Facebook status updates on the home screen.

The Cliq, which Motorola unveiled Thursday during a GigaOM mobile Internet conference in San Francisco Thursday, will be available from wireless carrier T-Mobile in time for the holiday season. Pricing information has not yet been released.

The Cliq and other Android-based handsets that Motorola Inc. plans to release could be the key to luring consumers back to its handsets. The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company hasn’t produced a hit since the wildly popular Razr phone in 2005.

Sanjay Jha, Motorola’s co-CEO and head of mobile devices, said Google Inc.’s free Android software is a modern, well-architected operating system that allows people do many different things with their handsets.

It also allows handset makers like Motorola to customize their handsets and offer distinctive features — something that will be key as the company tries to convince cell phone shoppers that the Cliq is more worthy of their dollars than Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry devices.

Motorola plans to unveil a second handset in the coming weeks that will also be available for the holidays; It will most likely be available through Verizon Wireless, which has already said it will be one of the stateside carriers for the devices.

Currently, T-Mobile sells two Android-running smart phones made by HTC Corp., and Sprint Nextel Corp. is releasing one also made by HTC on Oct. 11. Samsung Electronics Co. has said it is making an Android phone as well.