Motorola Wall

Motorola phones with Google's influence, running stock Android, to hit in the second half of 2013

Speaking to PCMag, Motorola design chief Jim Wicks has a whole lot of good news for Motorola fans out there. The integrity of Motorola's handset business after an acquisition by Google has been under quite a bit of scrutiny, but Wicks is quick to say that we'll be seeing phones soon that are truly designed by both Motorola and Google. If you'll recall back to previous talks, the companies had "12 to 18 months of products in the pipeline" which needed to be drained before truly new Motorola devices could hit. The strategy for Motorola is going to be quite a bit different from what we've seen before as well. First, Motorola is focusing on providing a stock Android experience with fast updates going forward. He said:

"From a software and UI perspective, our strategy is to embrace Android and to make it the best expression of Android and Google in the market. It will be the unadulterated version of Android, and I feel really good about our embracing Android and being the best Android experience."

The new Google-ized Motorola is also focusing on a strategy to fight against the "bigger is better" theme that has been a driving factor in Android device sizes, instead going for "better is better". Using the RAZR M as an example, Wicks explained that Motorola wants to make phones that feel "just right" in the hand, rather than just one-up the competition in every single spec and size -- "that's the easy way out" he says. 

The final pillar bringing this all together will be a new design and branding message that persists across carriers, rather than individual lines -- think Droid on Verizon and Atrix on AT&T -- that break up Motorola's vision. Although Wicks was quick to point out that the collaboration with Verizon has been a successful one, he says that Motorola is interested in also doing self-branded devices going forward.

That is, assuming Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are okay with Motorola attempting to do their own thing. There's nothing about this strategy that we don't like on paper, but we'll have to see how a new Google and Motorola combination can deliver on these ideas. We could be seeing some really interesting products out of Motorola in the coming months.

Source: PCMag


Reader comments

Motorola following 'better is better' strategy post Google acquisition


Comparing specs of the DROID RAZR M to the DROID RAZR HD -

Processor: Same Snapdragon
RAM: Same 1GB
Camera: Same 8.0MP

Differences were in the screen size and resolution - ok because the M is a physically smaller device, and in internal memory (8GB vs. 16GB).

Only if they build in ALL the bands and ALL the protocols. There is far too much fragmentation of spectrum and LTE technology levels among carriers to make a blanket claim.

Dear God I hope this is true! This could finally mean a true single Nexus device that we can use on ALL US carriers! WANT!

I would absolutely love a GSM unlocked Motorola phone to use on T-Mobile.

Hopefully, they make at least one 5 inch device, for fans of that screen size.

As long as that Motoblur junk is buried, they'll have a shot.

Doubt that Guy Kawasaki will help though...last I heard, he was suggesting more colors (aka copying Pentax :-P )

I hope they follow through. I would've loved an M last year since it was the only compact phone last year w/ high-end specs. But, there's no way I would jump to Verizon just to have it.

@jedah - Agreed. Not everyone wants a huge phone. The M was nice sized and decent specs. Unfortunatly it was a Verizon droid so everything locked down and the chances of Verizon providing updates for more than a few months are next to nil. If motorola can break out of that with a reasonable size phone with decent specs and stock android, they should have a fair number of buyers. I'm sorry I have no desire to carry around a huge phone.

With Google behind them, the carriers won't have any choice BUT to listen. If Moto wants stock android, they'll get stock android.

I also like the dig at Samsung, lg, and others with their comment on screen size and specs. You have to know that that's googles opinion on the matter too.

I'd guess that "Stock Android" doesn't necessarily exclude bloatware. But going the stock route takes a very huge delay out of the update process. Carriers will still want to check things and put on their default apps, but they don't care if Motorola uses Touchwiz, stock or anything else.

They do, actually. That's why Motorola had not-Blur for so long, and why it still exists (albeit in very minimal form) on their current phones. The only reason why they'll accept stock on these new devices is because Google will tell them to. You can also bet the quick updates and stock experience will be very heavily advertised by Motorola and their carrier partners.

It means they're focusing on the overall user experience instead of just going bigger for bigger's sake.

Everything about this policy statement sounds good except the size
statement. I'd be hot for all these stated policies but in a Note 2
competitor, size and stylus wise, not to mention removable battery
and SD storage. I'm also not forgetting bat-wing's long history
with superior weak-signal reception.

C'mon, Big Red Meatball, beat Sammy in BOTH sizes, PLEASE!

If you want a phablet, you have several choices - the Note, Note 2 and Optimus G Pro among them. Seems greedy to want yet another manufacturer to cater to that audience when the rest of us (non penile envy folks) just want ONE model from ONE manufacturer to combine high-end specs with a reasonable size.

In other words, you already have what you want, let us at least have ONE option for our desired form factor.

You're joking, right???

Don't jump down his throat for wanting more choices. If he's not a fan of LG or Samsung, then it's not out of the question for him to want a "phablet" with Motorola's excellent build quality.

He didn't make the bigger devices, the OEMs did. Be angry at them for not catering to your whims.

They're not necessarily saying they won't make large phones for those who want them. What they're saying is that they feel some manufacturers are jumping on the big phone bandwagon to make noise, instead of actually making better products.

This. +9000. I'm a fan of bigger-screened devices; however, even I can admit that bigger isn't always better. If the next Nexus device has a smaller screen, but has better specs and offers an overall better experience than the Galaxy S4, Note 3, and HTC One, then that's where my money will be.

In terms of consumer electronics and cell phones, the Motorola brand is probably bigger than Google.

I notice a lot of orphan phones hanging on the wall in the picture at top of the this article. There's a bunch of us who are still stuck with orphaned phones despite Motorola's promises. Although I like the direction Motorola / Google is going, I'm in the "wait and see" mode. If support is good for the next 4 years, maybe just maybe I'll consider Motorola again. Lost trust isn't easy to earn back.

I haven't owned a Motorola phone since a random variation of the Razr many years ago, and that was only a stop-gap since I dropped my Sony Walkman series phone in the toilet. I would love to see a phone along the Nexus price-line with stock Android and Maxx battery life. Make this possible Google!

I like the idea of some high end phones under 5 inches but if the top of the line specs aren't there then they won't sell. They can jump on Samsung all they want but if the consumers didn't like or want what they are putting out there then they just wouldn't sell. If Motorola thinks they can make a cheap pure Android and clean up they are kidding themselves. I love pure Android but I still want fantastic Hardware that flies. I want a sick camera and plenty of on board storage. I can live without the sd card but put some damn interior storage in the phone, 16 mb is just shit, it gives the user around 10 mb of usable storage, throw a few games on it and you just pissed threw all your storage. Just hope Motorola has engineers that are in touch with real users of these phones, not just some engineer who thinks he has all the answers. Those last few Nexus phones sucked IMO. I don't care what anyone says, Nexus should mean top quality. The Nexus brand should have nothing but top shelf hardware and be something the owner is proud to carry. If they make a truly great phone with killer specs it will sell like crazy and I will be the first in line. Just My Opinion.

Both of the last two Nexus phones did destroy the competition when they were released. The Galaxy Nexus came out and defeated the Galaxy S2 on the spec sheet and annihilated it in software, in November 2011 and was matched by the Galaxy S3 and HTC One X six months later and wasn't actually soundly beaten until October with the Nexus 4. Now the 2013 devices are going to be better on paper than the Nexus 4 (it's six months old) until 4 weeks from tomorrow, then Key Lime Pie will push the experience of the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 ahead of the 2013 devices as well, until they can catch up on software. If the last two Nexus phones are any indicator, we can expect the next one to soundly beat the Q1 and Q2 devices in specs, have better software and be unmatched until around Q2 of 2014 in hardware. What sucked about them?

Uhm. The Galaxy Nexus did not destroy the S2. As a matter of fact, it barely matched it. The only thing it had up on it was the screen resolution.

The Galaxy Nexus had a better screen, faster network connectivity (20% faster),better software (Ice Cream Sandwich), better design (curved screen, no physical buttons), a better battery and being a Nexus, beat the S2 to Jelly Bean by 9 months and I'd be seriously surprised to see KLP on the S2.

They have identical processors and RAM, sensors, etc. The S2 wins on camera hardware and camera software at release, though the stock camera is arguably better for the time being, it wasn't then.

The Nexus 4 vs Galaxy S3 have the same relational problem that the Galaxy Nexus and S2 had in 2011; The S2 wasn't available on all carriers and neither is the N4, while the Galaxy Nexus and S3 are available on all carriers.

Regards of s2 and gnexus, and i owned them boath, they were evenly matched, only that nexus was released 6 months later. Nexus had much worse battery life an horribile camera.

So I realy hope that motorola & google will release competitive hardware on stock android because I love nexus series.

So your saying a new phone is better than a 6 month old phone.

How about comparing phones in the same time frame.

Note2 and arguably the dna slaughter the n4

The Note 2, DNA and Nexus 4 are different enough that they all win different parts of the feature sheet.
For software, the Nexus 4 is clearly superior being stock. Nexus Wins
For exterior design the Nexus 4 had the advantage of having no physical buttons. Nexus wins.
For screen the DNA clearly wins on screen quality and pixel count, while the sizes (4.7, 5.0 and 5.5) are subjective. DNA Wins.
Processors are the same in the the DNA and N4, with a proprietary chip in the Note 2, all three are quad core. 3 Way Tie, maybe edge to Note 2.
Ram is identical. 3 Way Tie.
Battery is largest in the Note 2 and removable, clear win for them, DNA has the worst battery. Note 2 wins.

The point of all this, there is no clear winner and all three have at least one major thing against them. But with the specs and design features running this close, one starting out at $299 are $599 (DNA) and $699 (Note 2); the value per dollar is clearly superior in the Nexus 4 and you're not compromising anywhere on the spec sheet except LTE connectivity.

Being matched and being beaten are two totally different concepts; and I'd argue that with today's hardware specs being so far ahead of software (almost no apps come close to utilizing the full potential of hardware and the ones that do are graphic and processing intensive games); that software is the real differentiation between devices. If that is the case, the Nexus line has clear advantage over it's competitors in that department and in 4 weeks that gap will widen with Key Lime Pie.

They just need to make a single high end device and market it well. There is plenty of low hanging fruit out there.

1- Decent Size 4.7ish is fine if you don't want to get big
2- Solid Specs
3- Water Proof-ish
4- Removeable or huge Battery (why not??) or RazorMAXX Style (3400MHa)
5- SD Storage (why not??)
6- Stock Android for fast updates and fast phone
7- Amazing Camera Quality and Performance (seriously amazing here)
a) Android shouldn't be losing to the Lumina
8- Size LCD3 like the HTC One
9- Cool design with anything but the trashy, weak, slippery plastic of my S3.

This marketed well would be a great phone and nothing that isn't already out there. It just needs to all work well in a nice package.

I like this idea, but with a *few* different variants. Not a bunch of different models with different specs, but a single high-end model but with a just a few variations, such as screen size, internal storage*, color, etc.

*To be honest, I actually wish manufacturers would stop making "base" models with just a tiny bit of storage just so they can justify raising the price in $50 bumps to add a little more. I'd really love for a device to be released and for them say, "it has 64GB of internal storage"...and that's it. (SDCard support still welcome, of course).

He said there running stock android so SD card support will NEVER happen. You can all stop dreaming now.

Correct; Android does not support SD Cards. Devices that do support it have that support added in modification to the code by the OEM.

I wonder if they will make a 3.2 inch phone for my tiny girl pockets and small hands that's not super low end with something better than a 1ghz single core CPU and at least a 5 mp camera with flash. That's all I ask for!!

Get yourself the new HTC One.
The HTC One has already been unlocked ahead of its official release.

I loved my first gen Atrix but was disheartened that the ICS update got abandoned. Stock Android with fast updates are all I want from a manufacturer, and if Moto is headed that direction, then I know what brand of phone I'm going to buy from now on!

I would love a 5" + phone, at 70 and eyes that see triple, the bigger the better. I had the Nexus and after four replacements for low signal strength, no data connectivity, Big Red replace the phone with M/Razz Maxx. Much better connection, but I desired the Google experience and less blot ware. Contract up late August, just in time maybe for a new Motorola/Google phone, but this time i will wait to see how everyone like it and if there are any problems.

I want a smaller sized phone that doesnt lag. So basically a Nexus 4 with a 4.3 inch screen (maybe 4.4 inches), better design (not as fragile), and if possible a bigger battery (3000+ mAh is asking for too much, but maybe 2500 mAh?). But no branding on the front. I love that about my nexus 4. I know I'm asking for a lot especially that last part lol. Show me that (at a resonable price) and I may switch from my Nexus 4...

So a device with no SD slot and 64 or 128GB of storage is a no-go for you? Don't get so hung up on the SD slot.

You're going to be in for a big surprise, when future versions of Android prevent the use of an SD card altogether.

I really like this news. The main reason I don't have a Razr Maxx HD is the lack of CM10 and I don't like what little UI they put on it.

I'd love to see a new RAZR M available unlocked. I always liked that phone but I'm not on Verizon. While I truly have enjoyed my Nexus 4 I would like a slightly smaller phone 4.3 - 4.5" with a narrow fitted case like the RAZR M has. Slap in a 720P display and a high end cpu/gpu and it's my next phone. Especially since its almost a certainty the Nexus 5 will be a 5" display.

I do wonder if they'll be pushing more Intel chips in these new phones. That's still not something I think I'm ready to try but who knows what Intel can do in mobile.

Hmm well this could be the drop of hope I was waiting for... Sense has really annoyed me and even with jellybean my Evo LTE still lags every now and then -_-

I keep looking into windowsphone and I am really hooked on the metro styling and Nokias build quality + photo quality is nothing to ignore.

but, Android has the apps and its not stopping anytime soon, so... idk lets see what Moto can bring to Sprint by Christmas :)

I'm pretty sure at least 1 of the moto phones announced at I/O will be mid range, splash/shock resistant, and smaller screen size. It will work very well, but not be top of the line. I think it will be $199 or less, off contract. I think google will continue to try to undercut the competition, and to try to free customers from multi-year contracts where the carriers get to call the shots.

Hmmmm Stock Android.... Do does this mean no more devices with a full Qwerty Keboard?? My wife will be dissapointed, she wont give up the keyboard unil EVERYONE stops making them

While I'd love to see phones similar to the DROID Pro and DROID/Milestone, I think those form factors are done coming out of Motorola.

You could look into a bluetooth keyboard case. Otherwise, you're only choices are old and unsupported hardware, or a BB Q10.
Physical keyboards are just becoming a thing of the past. It's kinda scary.

My real hold out on ever buying a Motorola device again is the bootloader... If that came unlocked, I'd go back to Motorola in a heart beat.