Did Motorola Just Bomb its RAZR Event?
Editor's Note: This an opinion piece written in response to Wednesday's unveiling of Motorola's new RAZR smartphones.
Motorola Mobility, the smartphone manufacturer that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) acquired for several billion dollars, unveiled three new phones this afternoon: the RAZR M, RAZR HD, and RAZR MAXX HD.
Designed for users who appreciate a long battery life, the new RAZR devices could hint at what Google hopes to accomplish with Motorola. However, if it is a hint, Google should go probably back to the drawing board.
Early this morning, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) came out swinging when it unveiled the Lumia 920, the company's most impressive phone yet. Investors and analysts have not responded favorably to the device, which they say lacked positive surprises.
If that is how they truly feel about Nokia, one can only imagine what they must think of Motorola. The company is promoting its three new phones in a very typical way:
"Motorola RAZR M, the full screen phone; the nonstop all-day entertainer Motorola RAZR HD; and the unmatched, live-forever battery of DROID RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola. All three Android-powered smartphones are built with top-of-the-line materials, are small in size, big on battery life and packed to the gills with the best experiences Google has to offer."
If this is the best Google can offer, investors may begin to worry. As the inventor of the unfathomably innovative Google Glasses, investors likely expect that the company would produce a smartphone of similar stature.
Although the phones might end up being "decent", mediocre cellular devices are no longer good enough to draw customers in.
"Motorola RAZR M packs a big screen into a phone that fits in the palm of your hand. The Super AMOLED Advanced 4.3-inch display spans from edge-to-edge. The border you typically find on smartphones is virtually, in a word, gone. Even though it's smaller in size, you still get 40 percent more screen than the leading competitor. You can type emails and texts easily with a wider keyboard, watch YouTube videos and movies on a wider screen and browse the Web with Chrome for Android without squinting. All on a long-lasting battery that is 40 percent more powerful than the competition."
While the prospect of a long-lasting battery certainly sounds appealing, the promise of "40 percent more power" should be taken with a grain of salt. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung announce new devices every year and with the iPhone 5 only days away from its public unveiling, Motorola's power claims will soon be surpassed.
Some might think that Motorola deserves credit for having an edge-to-edge display. That would be true if the company had actually pulled this feature off. In truth, the device merely has more screen space than most other smartphones. This is not innovative; it is a gradual and heavily anticipated step forward.
Samsung has been increasing its screen space for years. Apple is expected to do the same with the iPhone 5. Where is the innovation? Motorola's phones still have edges. If Motorola had been the first company to release a smartphone that had no edges, then the company might have had something real to hype.
The only redeeming quality here might be found within the RAZR MAXX HD, which will supposedly operate for 13 hours of straight video playback, (10 hours for YouTube HD). That is a great feature.
No one, however, will trade in their trusted Samsung or Apple device to buy a Motorola smartphone just for the battery. Motorola -- and most of all Google -- will have to do better than that.
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