Razer Senior Vice President and General Manager for mobile Tom Moss has taken to Medium to explain that he has is parting ways with the company to take on the role of COO at drone startup Skydio. The departure appears to be on good terms with the executive indicating in that the decision was effectively made on the basis that the global market for smartphones is saturated and an experience he had with Skydio's R1 smart drone. Specifically, Mr. Moss recalls receiving the drone and using it to film a family bicycle outing. The airborne bot was placed in "lead" mode and flew backward to record the activity, avoiding obstacles and actively predicting the appropriate location to film next. Being able to complete the task of filming a family activity without taking himself out of the moment was inspirational for the former Razer executive. So when Skydio came forward with a job offer, following his role as an angel investor four years prior, Mr. Moss says that it wasn't an offer he could refuse.
Background: Mr. Moss has been a big part of smartphone development since long before his arrival at Razer and that has included time spent on some very early versions of Android while at Google. Leading up to his position with Razer's mobile unit, the executive worked at Nextbit and was CEO of the company during the development process behind the Nextbit Robin. Nextbit was purchased by Razer in early 2017. Prior to that, between 2010 and 2012, Mr. Moss worked as CEO and co-founder of 3LM. The company was responsible for helping OEMs such as HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and LG standardize their API through proprietary patches to Android itself.
More recently, the executive helped oversee development of Razer's latest device, the Razer Phone 2. As a followup on the company's original ultimate gaming phone design, the new Razer smartphone doesn't necessarily push too many boundaries. It essentially keeps what worked with the previous iteration and tries to improve on everything else, such as dual forward-firing speakers. Those are now enabled and certified by Netflix for Dolby Surround 5.1 and HDR audio playback as well as Dolby Atmos hardware. No other handset can currently make that claim. What's more, it features a 5.7-inch LCD panel rated at a 120Hz refresh rate and that's 50-percent brighter than the previous model. That's driven by a highly-optimized Snapdragon 845 SoC and specialty software to make it as close to perfect as possible for mobile gaming and power is provided by a generous 4,000mAh battery. The primary drawback to that single-minded focus is its poorly performing cameras.
Impact: Setting that aside, despite how well-designed as the Razer 2 is for the niche of mobile gaming, the mobile phone industry is not where Mr. Moss sees himself contributing the most to technology in general. The long-time innovator wants to create a directional shift for the drone market that's similar to the changeover from flip-phones to smartphones. Comparing the two technologies and referencing pre-2007 "dumb phones," Mr. Moss explains that the current iterations of drone hardware are stuck "in the dumb stage" and that they need artificial intelligence to break out of that rut. The transition forward to more intelligent flying machines is something the former Razer employee says he is excited to be a part of.