One of the companies struggling most in this hard economy is Motorola. Now, I am sure the economy has some part in their hardships but I am pretty convinced Motorola itself is not exactly innocent. I cannot remember the last handset coming out of Motorola that even remotely excited me, since of course, the Razr (you know you loved it the first time you saw it too). So now the people over there at Motorola have to be thinking how to get back in the game. What does Motorola have to do to become relevant again?
In today’s cellular news, the iPhone 3G has officially surpassed the RAZR as the most sold consumer handset. Let me repeat that just in case you did not understand, the Motorola RAZR, with all its shortcomings, was the most sold consumer handset, until today. Granted the statistics refer to the whole RAZR lineup, which includes some pretty decent models, like the RAZR MAXX V6 and the RAZR 2, but all in all, the RAZR really has nothing to offer in today’s market. Someone please explain to me how Motorola managed to milk that cow so long.
The way I see it, there are a few possible explanations. The first one is that the RAZR was the first to offer the slim form factor, and until every other phone copied it, the RAZR was pretty innovative in its slimness. There is no debating that functionality aside, the RAZR was and still is one sexy handset. However, attractive as it might be, that does not explain how its success lasted this long. I mean, the thing has a 2MP camera at most, not even going to mention any form of GPS.
The second possibility of how the RAZR stayed on top this long is the other aspect of this blog, Motorola’s marketing. I do not know the numbers, but I feel like Motorola must have spent a fortune on marketing the whole RAZR concept. Whether it is on ads, like the one below, or the coincidental use of the RAZR by all sorts of TV and movie heroes, it would be interesting to know the total amount spent on RAZR campaigns by Motorola.
Before I share with you my personal opinion, let me just tell you what else was on the list. The top 5 consumer handsets were:
- Apple iPhone 3G
- Motorola RAZR V3 (all models)
- RIM Blackberry Curve (all models)
- LG Rumor
- LG enV2
If you ask me to explain the RAZR’s success (if you are still reading this, then you are asking me), and I want to believe this to be true, I would say that consumers are finally starting to prefer function over form, and choosing the iPhone 3G over the RAZR is how it implements itself. The fact that the first iPhone did not take the thrown away from the RAZR means that it is not the iPhone’s looks but rather its functionality that does it for consumers.
I do think that the RAZR was the first of its kind and there were not many alternatives for consumers when the original RAZR was announced, but today when there are an endless number of esthetically pleasing handsets to choose from, people are actually choosing phones that provide functionality and not only good looks.
If you need proof of this theory, just check out Cnet’s 5 most wanted gadgets and tell me number 1 is not pure “function over form”. If you are too lazy to watch (spoiler coming up), the most coveted gadget by Cnet users is the G1, one of the ugliest phones around. I don’t think there is anyone out there that will claim that the G1 is anywhere nearly as nice as the iPhone and yet it was number 1 and the iPhone number 6. I rest my case, no further questions, your honor.
Motorola seems to be attempting to get back in the game, but just like last time, they are doing it all wrong. Motorola released the new Motorola Aura (at least last time, they had a pretty cool name, I mean, Aura?) handset, I think you should sit down for this.
Before I tell you what is so special about this phone, let me tell you what is not. The specs! The phone is 18 mm thick (just for reference, the original Razr was 14mm), it does not have 3G or Wifi, and the camera is a boring 2 megapixels.
So then someone please tell me why the heck this phone costs, (are you sitting down?), a whopping (I’m telling you, you’re gonna want to sit down for this one) $2000? OK so it is supposed to be one of those stylish looking phones, I get it, but at least the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte has 3G and a decent 3.2 megapixel camera.
Well, at least they did a good job with the design, right? Wrong! This phone is, in my opinion, one of the ugliest phones I have ever seen. Is it just me? Even in the below video, in which they are attempting to show off the beauty of the phone (I think that’s what they are doing, I need to brush up on my Russian), opening and closing the phone seems painfully difficult.
I don’t know about you, but Motorola making $2,000 phones when they have not made a good $50 phone in months, just does not sit well with me. Someone needs to talk some sense into whoever is making the decisions over there in the Motorola house, otherwise, at this rate, when I buy my son his first cellphone (he is now 4, I figure he has a few more months), he will never have heard of Motorola.
In Motorola’s defense, they have not given up. I have to admit that with phones like this, this, and this, I would’ve given up long ago.
Over the last few days, things seemed to have slowed down a little in the cellular world. I really did not come across any huge industry news when going through my daily blog routine, which by the way includes the following blogs/sites:
Only two pieces of news struck me as blog worthy, one because of its beauty and innovation, while the other, for the exact opposite reason.
Let’s start with the new Intel Mobile Internet Device (MID). It does not have a real keyboard and its specs are too weak for it to be a laptop. However, it is not small enough to be a phone, it seems to be in a category of its own, the category of MIDs.
This device looks pretty cool to me, kinda like a stretched out iPhone. There are not that many specs available, but the video of the thing definitely does a good job marketing the concept.
On the flip side of things, Motorola (wait, who?) is trying to get into the touch screen game. Except they are not doing a very good job, in my opinion. I don’t know what happened to the cellular giant of the first few years of the 21st century, but it seems that after the Razr (I do not mean that with any sort of sarcasm, I remember the first time I laid hands on a Razr, I was wowed!), they disappeared completely. Yea, they make an announcement here and there, but it is not for no reason, that I have not mentioned the word Motorola on this blog until now.
Anyway, Motorola announced their new handset, what they call the Crave. Seems like a cool name for a phone, right? Well maybe the name is cool, but the phone is far from it.
Besides its obvious ugliness, the specs are outright boring. 2.8 inch touchscreen (not quite there), 2 MP camera with no flash (I am falling asleep writing this), 138 MB internal memory (didn’t Bill Gates once say a few MBs will be enough?), and, are you ready for the big feature? Bluetooth! OK, I am exaggerating a little, it also has GPS, but all in all this phone does nothing for me.
I am sure Motorola will sell a few of these devices, but I have one major question about this phone. OK, so it is a little on the boring side, and not the most attractive of handsets, fine, I can handle that. The only thing I really don’t get here is, why would Motorola cover the touch screen display with an external plastic cover? Isn’t the point of a full touch screen the ease of accessibility? Why would one want to have to lift a piece of plastic every time one wants to access the very feature that is supposed to make the phone somewhat modern? Anyone, anyone?
If you are still reading this post, maybe you are a lover of Motorola, then you can watch the video of the crave below.
To sum things up, I would have expected the Intel MID and the Motorola Crave to have been announced in different times (the MID in 2020 and the Crave in 1999), with at least a 20 year gap between them, and not in the same week. Seems like Motorola is going to have to work just a little harder.
Oh, and while I am giving Motorola some advice, I have 3 words for them: STOP MAKING RAZRS. I don’t care that they still sell, it has been too long to continue selling a phone that’s only appeal is the fact that it is slim, too long!