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Motorola Mobility Revives Its Gadget Mojo

Sarah Thomas
9/5/2014

CHICAGO -- Motorola is letting consumers know it isn't backing off the mobile scene before it's taken over by Chinese leadership with the launch of four new devices on Friday: the next-generation Motorola X smartphone; the Moto G, an update to its best-selling smartphone ever; the tiny Motorola Hint Bluetooth; and the Moto 360 smart watch.

To kick off the launch of its new gadget portfolio, Motorola Mobility LLC took reporters to its Chicago headquarters for a detailed look at how the devices are designed, made and tested. See what the Motorola team had to show us by checking out our slide show, Pics: Motorola's New Gadgets.

Motorola has had a tumultuous past few years, being acquired in 2012 by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) only to be sold to Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992) just two years later, a deal that's slated to close later this year. (See Lenovo to acquire Motorola Mobility, Lenovo to Buy Motorola From Google?, Asia Strengthens Its Grip on Smartphone Market and Google Closes $12.5B Motorola Deal.)

The company went from struggling to maintain relevancy to achieving a 60% growth rate year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014, to 130% growth in the second quarter, according to new President Rick Osterloh. It's still not enough to grab a sizeable chunk of market share, but it's hoping to reverse its fortunes with its new line of devices.

Although it's one of many Android competitors in the market, Osterloh said its strategy is now centered completely on personalization and choice. That's obvious in its new devices, for which consumers can choose the color, the material, the accessories and how they interact with them. And, it's offering all this at a price that undercuts much of the competition. The Moto X will retail for $99 on contract or $499 unlocked when it debuts in the US later this month.

"Our focus is all about giving consumers the power of choice," Osterloh said. "We think with this generation of products, we're going to really emphasize that more and more."


For more on new gadgets, check out our dedicated devices/smartphones content channel here on Light Reading.


Of course, its biggest challenge will be that customers have a lot of choices in the market, both in the Android camp and otherwise. Samsung Corp. , its biggest Android rival, held its own launch event in New York this week to launch three new devices, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and the Gear VR. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is expected to announce its latest iPhone 6 at an event on Tuesday. And, next week is the CTIA 's annual show, Super Mobility Week, which could see a launch or two of its own.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Kruz
Kruz
9/6/2014 | 5:27:25 AM
Re: Made by Moto
I wonder how lenovo will integrate Moto devices with its existing line of handsets.

Will it go for a merger or keep both brands. Lenovo is doing well in Asian market(Chinese mainly) and Moto has a stronger foothold in the US market and Lenovo can use this to make its entry to the american market.
mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
9/5/2014 | 5:27:43 PM
Lenovo prediction...
I also wonder if Lenovo will try to devleop its own OS someday? Like Samsung is trying to do so that it has an option to get away from Google's Android platform. But Lenovo seems to have adopted an Android or Windows strategy, instead of brewing its own flavor of Linux.... But it really seems like Lenovo will need to create its own "media store" like iTunes/GooglePlay/Amazon to really compete in the consumer market. Perhaps it will just try to latch onto Microsoft to do it... but that seems like a weak move.
mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
9/5/2014 | 5:20:54 PM
Re: Made by Moto
I think Lenovo could do interesting things with Moto.... Google obviously didn't want to compete with its hardware partners in the smartphone space, so it makes sense that it unloaded Moto and kept the IP portfolio that it really wanted.

I'm wondering what Lenovo will try to with Moto.. and if Lenovo will start making even more cool Android devices? It certainly makes sense for Lenovo to expand into more portables/wearables, and Moto could really help Lenovo create some nice gadgets. 
sarahthomas1011
sarahthomas1011
9/5/2014 | 10:58:18 AM
Made by Moto
To be clear, Moto is still owned by Google as of now. The Lenovo deal should close this year. Either way, these launches felt like pure Moto, no influence one way or the other. I was quite impressed, although I didn't attend the Samsung launch to compare...
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