When Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google back in 2014 for a price of $2.91 billion, it wasn’t the first time the Chinese technology company was about to try and turn around the fortunes of a famed American technology brand that was once an innovator and market leader in its segment. Lenovo purchased IBM’s consumer PC business back in 2005, and managed to turn the famed ‘ThinkPad’ series of laptops into a name to be reckoned with. In an era when Dell, HP, Acer and other leading PC makers are struggling to maintain sales and profitability, Lenovo is the only large PC brand that has continued to grow in recent years. Still, when the acquisition deal was announced, Motorola fans worldwide were left wondering how the brand would fit into the Lenovo scheme of things.
While Lenovo has let Motorola function relatively independently thus far for the most part, the Group Vice President of the parent company, Mr. Chen Xudong, recently let it be known that the DROID sub-brand is on its last legs in China – the world’s largest smartphone market ahead of the US and India. Through a post on China’s largest microblogging site Weibo, Mr. Chen said, “DROID series has no further plans to introduce or maintain new smartphones”. It is however understood that the plan to kill off the DROID brand is China-specific, and doesn’t apply to the rest of the world. Motorola markets devices under the DROID name exclusively on Verizon, the country’s largest wireless carrier, and is expected to launch as many as four DROID-branded handsets later this year – the Motorola DROID MAXX 2 (a tweaked, Verizon-specific version of the Moto X Play), the Motorola DROID Mini 2, the Motorola DROID Ultra 2 and the Motorola DROID Turbo 2. The last mentioned is believed to be the device also known as the Moto X Force, which will feature a shatter-proof 5.7-inch display panel as its USP.
Delving a little bit into the background of the DROID brand, the original Motorola DROID was launched back in November 2009 by the then independent company, and put Android on the map in the earnest, even though T-Mobile’s G1 (a re-branded HTC Dream) was the first ever smartphone to ship with Android on board. The DROID, exclusive to Verizon as mentioned, got a lot of attention from the media, and Time magazine was suitably impressed with the device to have named it the gadget of the year back in 2009 ahead of the iPhone 3Gs.