About Nine Months ago, I published a fairly glowing review of the Motorola Cliq that I had just purchased. Since then, the ownership experience has been far from stellar and what is sad is that it is not the phone’s fault. It is the manufacturer and T-Mobile’s sales reps who have made promise after promise and to date these promises have not been owned up to. In fact, for those who own the DEXT, the international equivalent to the Cliq line; those promises are not even being pushed back any further, they have simply been reneged on completely. With Motorola’s bungling of good hardware, there are large groups of people, many who have been loyal Motorola cell phone customers for years, who are simply done with Motorola and many more who are jumping ship from T-Mobile for their mishandling of this as well.
Background of Motorola’s Mishandling of the Cliq, CliqXT and DEXT Cellphones
When these phones were launched, with a early October of 2009 launch date for the Dext in Europe and November 2 for the CLIQ in the United States through T-Mobile, they were shipped with Android 1.5 with promises, many right on the box that upgrades would be coming and soon. In fact, the first update to the phone actually hit in early December 2009. However, even from November, when I purchased my phone, there was a lot of talk about real upgrades, not just updates to the operating system and the Motoblur overlay. There was only a couple day difference between the launch of the Cliq and the Motorola Droid on Verizon and it made it very difficult to validate the purchase of a Cliq when the Droid had Android 2.0 and all of the features that came with this improved version of the Android operating system. When I bought my Cliq, I was told that I would have all those features by early 2010. Even a move to 1.6 would have delivered the primary reason why I was shopping for a new phone: the Google powered turn by turn directions.
The Promises by Motorola and When They Were Missed
The original plan was for Motorola to produce an upgrade for the Cliq and Dext line to get it up to the 1.6 operating system which would have given users turn by turn directions, more Bluetooth protocols and would be an easy way to jump to 2.1, 2.2 and beyond later because the kernel is the same for 1.6 and up. This was actually slated for late 2009 but was cancelled with the promise that the phones would instead receive an upgrade to 2.1, first by the first quarter of 2010 then pushed back again to the second quarter of 2010.
On the very last day of the second quarter of 2010, Motorola announced that they were delaying the upgrade again, stating they were still needing time to develop drivers and other reasons. Prior to this, both Motorola and T-Mobile were standing firm on the second quarter commitment, with reports of communications with both company’s customer support lines continuing to tell people it was going to happen by June 30th within days of that deadline. When the deadline was missed and the announcement made, there was not even any commitment for a new timeframe. It was not until the end of August that Motorola announced that it would be late third quarter or early fourth quarter before the release of 2.1 would happen. During this time, the DEXT was axed from any upgrades as well, with Motorola stating that “for the best combined hardware and software experience” the DEXT would remain on Android 1.5 and all of its limitations; shutting out a significant number of users around the globe from the upgrade to 2.1.
Needless to say, while Cliq and CliqXT users are aggravated at all of these delays and the loss of time and functionality from a device since it was purchased, the DEXT owners are especially mad and for good reason. Many of these users purchased the phones based on the promise of an upgrade and now that they are not getting one at all, see Motorola in a very poor light, with many calling foul if not fraud. With consumer protection laws as they are in some of the countries the DEXT has been and currently is sold in, there is a very good chance that Motorola will be punished for their cancelling of the Android 2.1 upgrade. For many American Cliq and CliqXT users, they see the DEXT cancellation as writing on the wall for the hopes of the upgrade they were promised as well. With the scheduled end of life for the product coming up very soon and the Cliq moving over to only being available on pre-paid plans as a new phone, the fears are growing. Motorola continues to promise early Quarter 4 as the end of Quarter 3 is but a week away and without any community Beta testers having been tapped to give the Android 2.1 and Motoblur upgrade a real world test. Needless to say, many in the community of Cliq and ex-Cliq users on Motorola’s support forums are dubious of Motorola meeting their deadline, with a few starting to become cautiously optimistic. Nearly everyone on there does agree though that Motorola’s communication throughout this process has been incredibly poor and everyone feels that Motorola’s Android offerings for T-Mobile are being treated as second class citizens compared to Motorola’s baby, the Droid which started out with 2.0 and has just been upgraded to Android 2.2 this week.
One of the other frustrations myself and many other customers have is how T-Mobile has responded to the entire Motorola Blunder with the Cliq and CliqXT. From the first missed deadline, I was very outspoken, spending over an hour on the phone with various departments with T-Mobile’s layers of customer support and technical support. Virtually everyone I spoke with sympathetic to my plight, after all, I was sold a phone based on a promise that in three months, it would be able to function as a GPS device, including turn by turn directions, as well as a number of other features I had hoped for. However, at each turn there was a “pass the buck” mentality. The end result of the first attempt, an hour of telling my story and being shuffled from one department to another was being told that the only person that could help was the store manager of the store I bought the phone from. I pursued that but ultimately was told that they had absolutely no power and the manager was confused as to why customer care would even suggest such a thing. Ultimately, each contact would hit a brick wall where I was told basically I was stuck with my Cliq and even the threat of walking away from T-Mobile forever was met with deaf ears.
However, others have occasionally had some success with specific divisions of T-Mobile in getting some sort of relief. This ranges from a discount on a different phone to an all out swap of a different device. None of my contacts have been successful at this point, but there is always a chance that I find the right person, in the right department, with the right privileges to help fix this mess.
“Motorola Owners’ Forum: Cliq 2.1 upgrade news”. Motorola Support Forums