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AH Primetime: Will The Google / Motorola Strategy Work?

November 16, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

Motorola was founded back in 1928 and got into radios and then televisions, but its roots are deep into telecommunications – in 1969, Neil Armstrong spoke his immortal words, “one small step…” using Motorola equipment.  Just four years later, Motorola introduced the world to the first handheld portable telephone.  They would then go on to design and build the world’s first commercial cellphone, the DynaTAC 8000X, in 1983.
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Although Motorola sold many mobile phones throughout the 90’s, their greatest success, was also their last, when in 2004 they released the Motorola Razr flip phone.  After that, success was fleeting in the field that they developed, and after losing billions, the company split into two divisions in 2011 and Google bought Motorola Mobility for 12.5 billion.

Moto Raze

Google went into this relationship with their eyes wide opened and had no expectations of turning Motorola around in a couple of years.  Motorola was already working on several models, the Droid MAXX, the Droid Ultra, and the Droid Mini, when they were purchased by Google and had commitments to Verizon to follow through with what was in the “pipeline,” so to speak.  They could not simply put on the brakes, ditch everything, and start from scratch – it’s not that easy in business – parts are ordered, commitments are in place, plans are in motion.

moto x

The Moto X was the first real device that was influenced by Google – not so much in the design or engineering, Motorola has the experts for that, but Google was instrumental in the total philosophy of the design. Google does not do anything small, especially when they invest billions of dollars – they expect to be a major player in the smartphone market, but not in the high-end market, where it is fairly saturated and profits are not as high. An established electronics giant, like Samsung, can concentrate on high-end devices, but is going to have a third-party manufacturer their low-end devices. A company must delve into that market to make money – there are 100’s of millions of potential customers in these emerging nations and Google would like to make Android lovers out of all of them and add them to their list for potential advertisers – because Google is all about advertising, and we must never forget that fact.

When the Moto X was released, the tech world was underwhelmed when its specifications were released:

  • 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display, 720p ~312 PPI
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core 1.7GHz processor; With Motorola’s X8 Mobile Computing System
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB options
  • 10MP ClearPixel Camera on the back
  • 2MP camera on the front
  • 2200mAh battery
  • Android 4.2.2

The Moto X has proven to us, although die-hard spec-freaks will not buy it, that you can have a great user experience without having to pay for the latest processor, a Full HD display, or to have the largest battery. If the hardware and software are optimized to work in unison, the device will be fast, smooth, and easy on the battery. There is still room for improvement, there always is, but for the first device since the Google and Motorola collaboration, it is an excellent beginning, and Google’s latest Android 4.4 KitKat should help in future endeavors – there is a plan.

Moto G 8

Google’s newest operating system, Android 4.4 KitKat, is their next step in world domination – by designing their latest OS to run on as little as 512K, drain less on the battery, and numerous other refinements that will improve your Android experience with less hardware specs. The other day, Motorola and Google announced their newest baby, the Moto G for only $179 for 8GB model and $199 for 16GB model – and these are the unlocked, full-price, non-contract amounts! The specifications, again, are those of a lower-end phone, and we cannot wait to get a hold of one in January or February to put it through its paces:

  • 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 LCD Display giving it 329 ppi
  • 1.2 Ghz Quad-Core Snapdragon 400 CPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8 or 16GB of Storage with 50 GB free with Google Drive
  • 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, 720p 30fps capture, 4x digital zoom, burst mode, Auto HDR and more
  • 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, GLONASS and FM Radio all included
  • microUSB port with 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Android 4.3 with guaranteed update to Android 4.4 coming in January 2014
  • GSM Supported bands: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps
  • CDMA Support bands: CDMA/EVDO Rev A
  • 2,070 mAh battery with 14-hour estimate from Motorola
  • 129.9 x 65.9 x 11.6mm and 143g

Google and Motorola have a plan and are working that plan in a slow and methodical way – yes, they will lose money for a while in the smartphone market, Google expected that. However, as they continue to produce quality built products at a reasonable price, optimize their software that translates into a great user experience, and good battery life, they will continue to gain ground and not only in the U.S., but around the globe, which is where Motorola’s, and Google’s, real fortune lies.

Let us know in the comments or on Goggle+ what you think about the direction that Google is taking Motorola with its Moto X and Moto G.