Battery life, durability are key areas for innovation, CEO says on earnings call

We're all chomping at the bit to see what Motorola -- which has been largely silent since being purchased by Google, finishing up its decidedly "not wow" product lines -- will bring to the table in 2013. Today, Motorola got a ringing endorsement from Google CEO Larry Page.

"In today's multiscreen world, the opportunities are endless," Page said during Thursday's first-quarter earnings call. Specifically, Page mentioned a couple features.

Battery life and durability were the focus of Page's praise. He didn't specifically mention features in any upcoming devices, but spoke more broadly. Still, it doesn't require to huge leap to figure that that power and survivability are concerns for any smartphone manufacturer -- and particularly with Motorola, which has become the gold standard in battery life with its RAZR MAXX line, and those phones didn't exactly have glass jaws, either.

Said Page:

"Think about your device. Battery life is a challenge for most people. You shouldn't need to carry around a charger to make it through the day. If your kid spills their drink on your tablet, the screen shouldn't die. And when you drop your phone, it shouldn't shatter.

"Having just seen Motorola's upcoming products myself, I'm real excited about the potential there. In just under a year, they have accomplished a lot, and have impressive velocity and execution."

That follows up talk this week about Motorola taking a "Better is better" strategy in a world where the shotgun approach -- spraying phones all over the place, basically -- has taken over.

No hints yet, either, if we'll see anything new from Motorola next month at the Google I/O developer conference.


Reader comments

Google's Larry Page talks up Motorola's upcoming products


I second that emotion. They make great hardware although I chose the S3 over the better end RAZR because I could not see the notification bar on any of the Motorola products. They needed to step up their UI or go NEXUS!!!

ya because you did that on your last phone....n4 battery least mine does. not a heavy user at all. i think its tmo searching thats the batter problem in my office it goes in and out all day and i have to plug in by the time i get about 9 hrs of light use. and i have broken it twice. the front broken when hit the desk and the back broke i did drop from waist high on concrete.

Signal strength will kill any phone. My Nexus 4 just lasted over 2 days with about 1.5 hours of screen time. Yes that's light use imo but I was trying to see how long it could last.

Try the app greenpower out to see if it helps you out.

I couldn't have said it better. It's the sucktastic service from almost every domestic carrier that attributes rather highly to battery drain. Want more proof? Just check your phone in a strong signal area or flip it to Wi-Fi and see how long your battery lasts. We should be damaging better/stronger signal at the same time we're demanding better (read: higher capacity) batteries. The two combined would be wonderful.

You have to remember that Motorola was bought out my Google with dozens of designs already planned for marketing. Google's influence won't take affect for a few more months.

So who knows what Googlrola truly has in store for us. For the past year the phones that have been coming out were purely designed and built by motorola.

Dang son, maybe a protective case? go ballistic case for this phone is sweet and cheap. I get about an average of 14-17 hours out of mine bouncing between wifi and cellular all day, granted due to my small data plan (soon to change to TMobile $30 unlimited prepaid) i leave it on restricted background data so i dont go over. what seems to kill my battery is running youtube or emulators. standard browsing and apping it up will last all day and then some. i regularly go without charging it at night so i can get a full charge cycle out of the battery to keep it healthy because when i get home i usually have about 35% left after a 10Hr day on the go.

Talk is cheap. It's one thing to say that battery life and durability are two of the most common issues that plague smartphone users. However, doing something about it is another. Android while touted for its ability to multitask sucks down your battery due to apps misbehaving. And I'm not talking about 3rd party apps, just the other day Google Maps sucked down my entire extended battery because it decided to try and find out where I was and couldn't make up its mind to check me in or quit while it was ahead. It's a combination of enterprise grade hardware and revamped OS that does more to reign in misbehaving apps so power consumption is less. I will give it to Apple that general consensus from folks I know who use those devices, power usage won't be a deal break in using the device due to the OS app management. Maybe it's a selling point for Google to differentiate themselves and it is up to the consumer to pick and choose. But take it from a long time Android fan (all the way back to my beloved G1), I am very disappointed so far with the trajectory the platform and OEMs have taken it. So unless at Google I/O something earth shattering is unveiled that marries these two themes into one power house device, this long time Android user is jumping ship.

I think Motorola has plenty of experience in durability and batterylife for smartphones. The Razr series brings some of the toughest phones with the best battery life around. Go take a look at the Razr HD Maxx, The device is one of the slickest ones out there next to the HTC One. add incredible battery life and you have everyone envying verizon for being the only carrier who has it. I know its the device id have if i could get it unlocked and running GSM. (Currently running LG N4)

Google's Motorola is going to take the HTC approach instead of the Samsung spray big, huge, gargantuan approach.

Moreover, Samsung may just fork themselves bad.

While I understand what you're saying about HTC with the One approach, Samsung has put in a bigger battery in their S4 than HTC did with the One. Whether that translates to better battery life remains to be seen, but most reviewers don't seem thrilled at the One's battery life but do say it's ok.

I feel Google could focus more on power saving techniques built into stock Android. Instead companies are building options into their skins, Sony for example got high marks for battery life on it's latest flagship device. Motorola obviously built a huge battery into a fairly compact phone in the Maxx. I had issues on both my Gnex and Nexus 4 until I found the app Greenpower, which works for my needs but there's no reason Google can't build in options like Greenpower gives you into the OS.

You don't want a fully aluminum phone. It would be very difficult to get a signal to (looking at you ASUS Transformer Prime) and you could never have wireless charging. I will never understand the black magic that HTC uses to get signal to its metal phones

IIRC, the lines on the back of the body are to help the antenna find signal. It gives the phone the ability to search for signal outside of what would basically be a Faraday cage.

Hmmm....sounds like we will see our first water-resistant high-end phone from a major manufacturer here in the US. If they can make a phone that Mil-Spec 810G certified, yet still very attractive with top-notch specs and the battery life of a Razr Maxx HD, and sell it on all 4 carriers + unsubsidized on the Play store...they will have a certifiable hit on their hands. I know I'd buy one!

Agreed! It just needs to be more attractive than any of the Razr series IMHO. HTC and Sony are really stepping up their design games (in Sony's case, with a waterproof phone too), so it's high time other Android device manufacturers follow suit.

Ditto! if they could manage to keep it budget friendly ($399 sounds like a sweet spot for the MAXX size battery) they'd sell like HOT CAKES!

Sorry Larry, you lost me as a Moto fan long ago. The phones suck, the updates suck, the designs suck, well Moto sucks. So now you want to stay in line with Apple and not make phones that consumers want but do 20 fashion colors on the XPhone. REALLY? Learn to market.

i love motorola phones. i dropped my old droid x probably 20+ times on concrete and bearly even got a nick on it, and i never use lame ass cases only a zagg screen protector. battery life was pretty good too (probably cause no 4g). if my droid x had 4g i'd be using it right now.

I have a RAZR Maxx HD it is a great phone that I would recommend to pretty much anyone. The battery, the durability, the high quality build, the great radios on board all act to provide the best smart phone I have owned... I have owned the Blackberry Storm , the HTC Thunderbolt and this RAZR Maxx HD.

The mid priced RAZR i is excellent. Compact, robust, physical camera button, very fast and the camera launches literally instantly after you select it.

Being from Chicago, I am very stoked on what's coming up and going on at Motorola... I have a Nexus device now and a Xoom, I am hoping for some kind of a merge of the two.