Phones: RAZR, Defy
Entered market: 1983
Latest Model: RAZR
Motorola's future plans and developments
- One-time champion of the mobile world, currently in a rebuilding phase
- Current models offer exciting innovations, including water and dust proofing
- Potential for tight integration with Google Android operating system
- Late-comers to the smartphone world
- Currently well behind in market recognition from major competitors
The only way is up. Now that the mobile phone division is owned by Google, Motorola has a chance to re-emerge as a proper mobile player. The company is taking it slow, releasing only one big flagship device, the new, Android powered RAZR smartphone.
Google has been using HTC and Samsung as testing grounds the last few years; now that they have their own mobile manufacturer in their pocket, the possibilities are both endless and secretive. Google will have to go slow to avoid being accused of anti-competitive behavior in regards to their “open” mobile software. Expect a few more high-quality but low selling Motorola handsets before we see a true Google Phone. Motorola's history
Motorola has pedigree. The former parent company basically created mass communication. Motorola had a hand in creating television broadcasts, radio systems and internet infrastructure. Its radios are still the gold standard around the world, and the first words beamed from the moon were transmitted and received by Motorola equipment.
The first mobile phone call was made with, transmitted by and received by Motorola equipment. But Motorola’s mobile device unit has always had an up-and-down relationship with the market. Motorola booked a major win in analog with the StarTAC flip phone, and then duplicated that success with the RAZR digital flip phone in 2004, and 7 years later, was so completely unloved that it had to be sold to Google, just to stay alive. Motorola’s other divisions – radios, modems, networks, etc – are still owned by Motorola. One has to assume that eventually, the mobile device division will be folded into Google more completely, and lose the Motorola name.
In the smartphone era, Motorola had a small hit with its DROID line of early Android smartphones, but Samsung and HTC emerged as the leaders, thanks to constant updates and crowd pleasing extra features. Motorola is really fighting a different battle, one with Apple and BlackBerry for patiently released, iconic devices.
Motorola's attempt to remind the world of that in 2007 with the HELLOMOTO advertising campaign failed, largely in part to some lackluster interim releases that did nothing cool, or better than anyone else. If nothing else, Motorola provides a cautionary example for everyone, including heavy hitters like Samsung and Apple – you’re never too big to fail when it comes to mobiles. This is a fickle marketplace with slim margins, and selling 120 million units one year can translate to near bankruptcy less than a decade later.
Motorola sits within the 5% “other” slice of the Australian market pie, where Samsung, Apple, BlackBerry, HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG crowd out everyone else. Expect that to change very soon. Even though no-one buys them, Motorola phones still review well and have a reputation for quality components. Motorola still has some significant market share in the US. Motorola providers
Optus is the sole provider of the RAZR smartphone
at the moment, selling for $0 on the $59 plan over 24 months. This plan includes $750 worth of calls and 2GB of data. Telstra has the Motorola Defy
as a pre-paid phone for $299. The Defy is marketed for its toughness, and is a perfectly adequate Android handset in its own right- even with Motorola’s MOTOBLUR skin over the top of it.
Motorola will come back. Samsung has the best Android powered phone (The Galaxy S II), and the most Android-y phone (The Galaxy Nexus). HTC has the most features. LG has the best design. Sony Ericsson has the best multimedia. Motorola is aiming for the most durable and powerful, and might take Samsung’s place as the phone running the best application of Android. From there, Motorola might be able to compete with Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia as a company with a fanbase.