Four years back, the Motorola Razr was the most happening handset in terms of its looks, forms and style quotient. However, having delivered Razr and generated volumes through the Slvr series, Motorola got stuck. All its new line-up was strangely Razr looking and the form factor was extended to the point where it was over-used and lost all its charm and novelty. That was Moto’s last big platform which leveraged them to the tops in North America and brought them in a striking distance of Nokia elsewhere, but then the Razr platform also was the chief cause of Motorola’s fall. Motorola leadership got “stuck” to the Razr and didnot innovate ahead. That was the last we heard of Moto. Sales plummeted, Shares nose-dived, Moto Mobiles was dead and even went to the point of being bought over by some very dubious buyers.
But then Android happened and the Motorola CEO, Sanjay Jha was quick to identify the Android platform as the next big thing in 2008 and consequently diverted all of the Moto Smartphone portfolio to Android. Android, the new kid on the block also needed a pedigreed OEM for partnering with it in its infancy.The rest (in cliche) is history!
Android and Motorola delivered the most stunning Droid/Milestone last November and beat iPhone in becoming the best gadget of the year by Time magazine. From the launch of Droid to others such as Backflip, Sholes Tablet XT720 to the Droid II and the Droid X, i have been following Moto as they have inched forward slowly and slowly gaining acceptability and credibility all the time yet again. The good news is that Moto clawed back into Black after 8 quarters of Red last quarter.
If the earlier bits were the beginning of a recovery, then the recent device announcements made by Moto should be seen as an indication that Moto is going strong and has for most parts recovered from its 3 year stint “down in the ditch”.
The new Portfolio of Motos on Android power are a very interesting lot. They are as good as it gets in devices and theres no beating that. The range goes from Full Touch to QWERTY phones to Slider QWERTYs to Side Slider QWERTYs to Twist QWERTYs. 2 of the 7 Androids cover CDMA and Moto has covered 3 of the 4 US operators: AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile as its partner. Motorola has also covered most of the target groups with different form factors: Business Users, Style Seekers, teens, Casual Users, Heavy Messaging Buffs and more. The portfolio announced is seriously potent and with Android, the only was Moto smartphones will move is upwards.
For the emerging Markets Motorola is looking the Mediatek way and is trying to leverage its scale to source devices from Chinese ODMs. The EX115 and EX 128 are two prime examples of the focus on emerging markets. The challenge however in the emerging markets is that Motorola is weak in distribution and there are just too many competitors offering same specs at more value for money prices. Beating that is going to be tough and Moto will need to take a holistic and integrated approach to its mid and low end strategy in this segment.