Google Moto Stage

AH Primetime: What All Android Manufacturers Can Learn From Motorola

January 16, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

We all knew that when Google bought out Motorola Mobility, it would forever change the way Motorola operated in the mobile world. Some people were very upset about it – especially the entire company of Samsung – but I for one, was very happy about the “merger.” I am a longtime Motorola fan – from my first aluminum V60 to my E815 to my Razr V3, and even my Bionic – and simply loved their radios/reception, as I lived in a poor area for reception and Motorola was the only brand that seemed to get any signal at all. However, like most smartphone manufacturers, before Google’s acquisition they were making some questionable managerial decisions – designing for today, without any thought of the future of the company.

Just as T-Mobile is trying to be the “uncarrier” of carriers, Motorola is now the “unmanufacturer,” as they try to do things in a more customer friendly way – possibly doing something that is not so popular at first, but something that will be appreciated over time.  Moto is doing things that will grow their brand recognition in the long haul and are marketing their products to the beat of a different drummer.

Stressing quality over quantity – there is no reason to come out with five or six different smartphones every year – concentrate on engineering the ones that you design to work flawlessly, smoothly, quickly, and intelligently – and do it for a competitive price.

Added Value Software, not an Overwhelming UI – In keeping true to pure Android and adding just enough useful features to add true functionality to the user experience, Moto really raised the bar, not lowered it.  Do we really need all of the “bells and whistles” that some manufacturers insist on including on their devices, many of which we never even use or realize that are there?  I came across a feature on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, purely by accident, and found out it works on the Galaxy S4 as well – but never knew it was even available to me.  Many of these extra features are what causes the delay when Android does an upgrade and we have to wait months before it trickles down to our devices.

Aren’t we all a little “bloated” at this point? – We cannot always escape the carrier’s bloatware, but when the manufacturer adds a lot of their own, we can run into a lot of problems with memory, sluggishness, and delays in upgrades to Android.  Other manufacturers have come up with their own solution…add more memory!  Motorola chose to pare down its bloatware and to optimize everything, so that they could offer us a device that runs smoothly on only 1GB of memory, not 3GBs.

Take Android upgrades seriously – Google does not upgrade its Android operating system just because it feels like it…they do it to put in more useful features, extend battery life, upgrade security features, and add functionality that will be needed for future devices and/or applications.  There should be no reason to have the range of fragmentation that Android “enjoys” amongst its devices and manufacturers.  In the past only the Google Nexus devices received the upgrades almost immediately and then the rest of us would have to wait months, or possibly never get the upgrade because it would just take too much time and trouble.  Manufacturers were struggling just to get their newest flagship devices upgraded.  Motorola changed all of that by rolling out KitKat to their Moto X less than three weeks after the upgrade was available, and its low-end Moto G got the upgrade only a month after that.

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Provide a great user experience for your entire price range – Moto shows the same love to their Moto G users as they do their Moto X users.  Certainly there are differences in processors, memory, and features, but even with the Moto G you “feel” like Motorola cares about you and has given you good value for your money – and isn’t that what we all want? Not to mention, now Motorola thinks we should expect it as well.

Treat off-contract customers as being an important part of your business – because they are, or at least could be.  They are looking for a bargain, many times because they have too, that is all they can afford – why should they have to settle for a new piece of imported junk that has no features and old software or buy a used two or three-year old model?  With the Moto G, these customers have a real choice to buy a new device with good performance and the latest Android operating system, at a fair price.

Will any other manufacturer step up to the plate and deliver, like Motorola has done? What Motorola has done is positioned themselves for future growth of not only their devices, but also the growth of Android as more and more people realize the tremendous bargain that Motorola products are offering to the public – both in the U.S., but more importantly, in the emerging nations that cannot afford $800 for a smartphone. What do you think of Motorola’s new tactics – please let us know on our Google+ Page – do you think it was a good move on their part and would you like to see other manufacturers follow?