In the past, change was not something that would come easily for Motorola. Slow to enter the smartphone market, after growing complacent due to the success of the MotoRAZR, they suffered quarter after quarter of losses. This culminated in the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google, a move likely driven by Google’s desire for the 80 year old company’s patent portfolio.
But now Motorola has no choice - it must change or perish.
If Motorola is going to survive, it will need to pulling something revolutionary out of its hat.
Once again the company has changed hands, now sold by Google for a mere quarter of its buying price to Chinese PC manufacturing giant Lenovo. While Lenovo expressed a desire to enter the US smartphone market through Motorola, its latest offerings; the Moto-X and Moto-G have failed to deliver impressive sales figures. Clearly, if Motorola is going to survive as a brand, it will need to pulling something revolutionary out of its hat.
And it might have just that thing…
The Moto360, due to be launched in Summer this year is, Motorola’s foray into the smartwatch market. This is a market which despite a slew of new devices, has failed to generate significant popular traction. Current devices are hindered by short battery life, and poorly optimized software interfaces. But most importantly, they fail to address the fact that a watch is primarily a fashion accessory.
This is the key area in which Motorola believes its Moto360 device can shine. Billed as a “reimagining of the modern timepiece”, it sets itself apart from the blocky form factor of its competitors with a round touchscreen panel. This combined with a variety of straps, both metal and leather, give the device more of the feel of a high-end luxury watch, than the ugly utilitarian aesthetic adopted by Samsung’s Galaxy Gear series.
Combined with this, the soon-to-be-released device will be among the first two products to launch alongside Google’s new Android Wear operating system. This OS is a customised version of Android, optimised for wearable devices. It features complete integration with Google Now’s voice control capabilities, and promises to allow users to rapidly, and easily access important information, with minimal physical interaction with the screen.
Could this be the device that finally opens up the smartwatch market in the same way that Apple did for the smartphone and tablet? Motorola certainly hopes so, and given the exciting form factor of the phone, as well as new Google software, they might just have a fighting chance.
[Lower Picture: Motorola]
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