It’s amazing how times change in the world of mobile technology. If you tried to compare a vehicle made 1998 to one that was made this year, surely you’ll notice some differences here and there, but the concept remains the same. If we tried to compare airplanes, motorcycles, or any other form of technology, we see evolution, but not really revolution. Funny, I even learned that the padding used for running shoes is 30 years old, and even if their design has changed, the concept is still the same. Now, if I asked you to compare a cellphone made in 1998, and compared it to the HTC One, iPhone 5 or Galaxy S 4, oh man, you’re in for a treat.
Mobile technology hasn’t only evolved, but reinvented itself quite a few times. The changes are so dramatic, that not even the companies that invented it are really here to enjoy it. I bought my first cellphone in 1998, and it was a Nokia 250, which by today’s standards was a brick. Back then Nokia was in its process of growth and revolutionized many things to reach recognition in the market, but the true market leader was none other than Motorola.
You know, it took me 2 years, three cellphone swaps, three company promotions, and triple my salary to be able to afford my first Motorola cellphone, which was the Timeport P8767. We all wanted one. Surely Nokia had better display technology and all, but Motorola knew design better than anyone. I see that phone in photos today, and I still find it cool enough to want to use it all over again. I’m not sure if it was the famous StarTAC design, or the blue display, or the huge LED light that would tell the world I had a Moto, but man, it always felt great to have it and show it off. Clearly as much as the company invented the cellphone (if you didn’t already know that), they clearly didn’t sit in their laurels and innovated in design and technology better than any company we knew.
Till this day, I’ve owned more Motorola phones than I’ve owned any other phone brand, even if the last Motorola that I actually bought was the Q9h back in 2008. Today we’re amazed by aluminum designs, when I rocked aluminum on my V60i, V600, V3i and V635 respectively. HD Voice you say? Well I still don’t know what Motorola does or did back then, but phone calls always sounded amazing in a Motorola phone. Thin and light you say? I still struggle to find anything as thin or light as my first RAZR. Yes, up until 2008, I still had a heart for Motorola.
I guess what hit Motorola the hardest was the Smartphone, and to be more specific, the iPhone. Motorola made smartphones running Windows Mobile long before Apple even thought the iPhone would be their next move, and still, once the 2007 begun to change our desires for a phone, Motorola just began to fumble in ways that still make me sad today. It’s such an irony since they’ve innovated with new design materials like Kevlar, and smartphone nano-coating, and still, once you tried MotoBLUR for 5 minutes, I’m sure you joined me in returning the phone out of frustration. It all seemed like if what the hardware department could do, the software department could never figure out.
Today, it’s all about Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility. Some people see this as a positive thing, since hey, Google is Google, right? Well, I think I might top the list of people that don’t see a bight future in this change, and here’s why:
Google won’t make Motorola look any better
Oh yeah, I’m sure that heading caused a jaw-drop in most of you. Google has the Nexus program, right? Well, if we simply compared the sales results of any Nexus smartphone in history, it’s clear that none were ever popular. Don’t get me wrong, I still love, and even use my Nexus One just out of sheer nostalgia every now and then, but that doesn’t mean that it ever made a dent in any market, and neither did the rest of the Nexus smartphones that have ever been launched.
That said, and removing the Nexus One from my following statement – none of the Nexus smartphones launched in the past couple of years have ever been famous for design. Surely they’ve been handsome, as Michael Fisher once shared his thoughts on the design of the Galaxy Nexus in his After The Buzz, but none of the Nexus smartphones that followed the Nexus One ever broke any records in anything, and that even includes specs.
So, match Google with this history with the legacy we knew from Motorola. Yes we know they crashed and burned in the smartphone era, but their dominance of the cellphone era was based on design and innovation, and if we were to judge Google by their smartphone legacy, I doubt that any result from the work of both companies will bring us another hit like the OG RAZR.
So they have a new logo. How about a new product?
I guess our biggest concern lately is that the Moto X has behaved as more of a Unicorn than the white iPhone 4 ever was. How long has it been since we’ve heard of all these rumors, and no phone? To be fair, even if we were to forget about the rumors and focus on Motorola’s product line-up, all their phones are already reaching their anniversary in September, at times when Samsung and HTC are just killing-it with their competing products.
It doesn’t matter if this is the Moto X, Y or Z, the company’s top-of-mind has withered away dramatically since Google bought them. Instead of having some intense innovation seem apparent by both companies, it seems that they’re willing to let the buzz surrounding even the Moto X die a quick death when compared to everything that competing companies have already done.
The bottom line
One thing is for sure, the Motorola we knew is gone. That company that was willing to defy design, marketing and product quality is no longer in the visible horizon. Surely Google can prove me wrong in the next couple of weeks and show us an amazing new Moto X, but hey, then again if it won’t look any different than the Nexus 4 as we’ve seen in leaked photos, I’m not sure that there’s really anything hot to look forward to.
It’s a sad, but true reality. As much as I came-up with the idea of writing this article, I even debated completing it, simply because I know that there aren’t many left with any love for Motorola. Then again, I could be wrong.
Do you still care about Motorola? Would you still buy one of their products if released today? Do you still remember your first Motorola cellphone story? Share it in the comments.