When Motorola released the RAZR back in the day, it became a huge success. Unfortunately they were unable to do anything but RAZR-like products after that. RAZR 1 2 3, then KRZR, and some other similarly looking phones. We didn’t here much from Motorola since, then they came out of nowhere with the Motorola Droid. It was another hit for them, but since then, history seems to be repeating itself. The Droid 1 2 3 all looks very similar to each other and the Droid X and X2 are nearly identical, minus the physical shutter button.
Seems to be the pattern with most companies. If they make something that’s a hit, the leadership will cling to that and keep doing the same thing. To be honest, I think what made the Droid successful was its robotic advertising campaign that made it cool. Everyone knows that “DROID” sound. The phone itself is lackluster, and has a skinned Android (always subpar to stock, unaltered Android from Google).
There are a few reasons that they all look similar:
They are trying to define a brand language for themselves, in the way that Apple has and Samsung (well, “plasticky” is something I associate with all Samsung phones)/LG haven’t. The X has that bump in the back, and the Droids have similar form architectures
They view it as two branches of refinement: lower end Droid, 2, 3, and higher end Droid X. No reason to change it a lot, just slight refinements each time, with the boots primarily in the technology.
No, I don’t think history is repeating itself. For one, Android is always changing because Google is always working on it. That itself will always be the primary experience for the Droids, as well as any phone today. I think Moto has interesting ideas with regards to scenarios of use for technology (see Atrix), and if they could deliver those at a lower price point, without a crippled Android experience, it would be very compelling. You shouldn’t treat phones today purely by ID: just because Droid 1, 2, 3 look the same, doesn’t mean they are the same experience: each has slightly higher specs, and supports newer and newer versions of Android.
I am not a fan of Android, and I think the model of an open sourced OS where vendors can modify it is a terrible idea. It will always lead to a cobbled together product. I don’t think Moto will fade any time soon. They’ve built a solid brand around Droid (unlike RAZR, which was just a fashion item, and will fade way fast) and as long as Android exists, I can’t see any reason why Moto would stop.
Yeah it seems Motorola phones cannot learn from their mistakes because of the business culture. In both cases Product Development, including ID, were asked to save the company and given a great deal of latitude. In both cases, once the products succeeded, control was given back to Marketing and all they can think of is variations on a theme.
From what I can tell, Moto’s still basically run by the same people, and the only thing that will change is they get more money and Google gets more patents. I don’t think any real big shift will happen just from this deal.
Definitely not being run by the same people. Lots of leadership changes in the post-Sanjay organization and I’m sure that will go even further with the acquisition. They may have still had a lot of the same decision making mentalities, but that will probably change as well now that their prime directives will probably start shifting.
Given the boat loads of cash MMI has been throwing overboard, I wouldn’t expect Google to just tell them to “run your business as is”. I would expect some major changes, down to the point where they may pick the entire company up and move whoever is willing to California and fire anyone who doesn’t want to. I also have a strong feeling the Motorola brand as it’s known today will eventually go away from the consumer products entirely.
What about all the non “everyday joe” industries motorola is in with their radios for police/etc? I’m not familiar with their structure but it looks like they divided the two somewhat. Has it already been spun off or perhaps google will do that soon?
The non-consumer end of Motorola is now Motorola Solutions. The company split into two at the beginning of the year. It was not spun off, it is the remainder of Motorola. Motorola Mobility was the spin off of the cell phone and set top box business, and the network infrastructure was sold to Nokia Siemens.
Although I think it was stupid to come out with a new phone called a razr…I disagree, I see some differentiation in the Motorola products even today…it’s based on service provider, so we see more hype of Verizon / Droid this and that (hello George Lucas, here’s another check…not that you need it) than the products at the other service providers. I’ve also noticed some Android differentiation between service providers.
But with Google coming into power I think we’ll see Motorola ramped up over the next 5 years into a broader provider of serious to whimsical to tween handset models.
(disclaimer: previous DROID 1 owner and now DROID 3 owner w/ global service - and very happy with it thank you very much).
This post was from August, but at this point I think it has been made almost crystal clear that following the merger the Motorola branding on cell phones will cease to exist, and the products and company will all be “Google” once more.